US Air Force’s F-35 aircraft makes debut at Aero India

One of the world’s most advanced stealth aircraft F-35 touched down in India for the first time Monday signaling yet another mark of an increased intimacy between the armed forces of the US and India.

The historic debut of the US Air Force’s two fifth-generation supersonic multirole aircraft would add much-needed spunk to the air show which has been given a miss by most of the world’s top fighter aircraft.

One of the aircraft, F-35A Lightning II, that flew from Hill Air Force Base in Utah will impress crowds with a demonstration of its unique aerial capabilities in the next four days, but the second one, an F-35A that came from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska will be on static display.


“The F-35 represents the leading edge of US fighter technology. Aero India is an ideal forum to showcase the most advanced, capable, lethal, and interoperable weapons systems the US has to offer. This system and others are designed to penetrate and defeat advanced adversary air defenses,” Major General Julian C Cheater, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air said in a statement.

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In January, Canada announced it was buying 88 F-35 stealth fighter jets in a $14.2-billion deal. Its manufacturer Lockheed Martin has seen a rush of interest in the F-35 over the past year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Germany, Switzerland and Finland made deals for the F-35 in 2022, while NATO allies Greece and the Czech Republic also announced requests to buy the stealth fighters.

The F-35’s engine produces 43,000 pounds of thrust and consists of a 3-stage fan, a 6-stage compressor, an annular combustor, a single-stage high-pressure turbine, and a two-stage low-pressure turbine. Other US attractions in Aero India would be an F-16 Fighting Falcon duo that will conduct daily aerial demonstrations showcasing the capability of one of the USAF’s leading fighter jets.

On static display would be the F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole deck-borne fighters that flew from an aircraft carrier off Japan. This is one of the aircraft being considered by the Indian Navy for the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and a possible second carrier.

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