The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multi-role fighters undergoing testing and final development. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, and air defence missions.The F-35 has three main models:
F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant
F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant
F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant.
The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Other major F-35 industry partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006.
F-35 JSF development is being principally funded by the United States with additional funding from partners. The partner nations are the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Several additional countries have ordered, or are considering ordering, the F-35.
For the United Kingdom, the F-35B STOVL variant has been chosen for use by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. In September 2013, it was announced that 809 Naval Air Squadron was to be reformed by to become the first Fleet Air Arm squadron to be equipped with the F-35B Lightning II.
809 NAS squadron will operate alongside 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (the 'Dam Busters'), and will be stationed at RAF Marham when not deployed aboard one of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. It will consist of both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel.
809 Naval Air Squadron Thread: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=189&p=2643#p2643
617 Squadron Thread: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=190&p=2660#p2660