'Lightning II' moniker given to Joint Strike Fighter

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The Air Force chief of staff announced Lightning II as the F-35 name during a Joint Strike Fighter Inauguration Ceremony today at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. at Fort Worth, Texas.

Gen. T. Michael Moseley made the final decision after an extensive nomination and review process, coordinated with the other services and partner nations.

In naming the F-35, General Moseley said, "Today, the enemies of peace and freedom have been put on notice. They have feared this day because the F-35 provides the coalition warfighter the perfect blend of speed, precision and stealth.

"In my travels, Airmen have given me some great suggestions that we'll see on new Air Force weapons systems in the near future," he said. "The name for the F-35, Lightning II, was a win for aviation heritage and culture."

The heritage associated with this name played a significant role in its selection. The original P-38 Lightning was also a strike fighter and had the most air-to-air kills in the Pacific during World War II. Both of America's top two aces -- Maj. Richard Bong, 40 kills, and Maj. Thomas McGuire, 38 kills -- scored all of their victories in the P-38 Lightning in WWII.

The Lightning II name also draws parallels with a formidable force of nature. Like lightning, the F-35 Lightning II will strike with destructive force. The stealth characteristics of the jet will allow the F-35 to strike the enemy with accuracy and unpredictability; when the enemy finally hears the thunder, the F-35 is long gone.

The F-35 Lightning II is the next generation strike fighter bringing cutting-edge technologies to the battlespace of the future. The Lightning II's advanced airframe, autonomic logistics, avionics, propulsion systems, stealth and firepower will make it an affordable, lethal, supportable and survivable aircraft for warfighters across the globe.

The Air Force is the Department of Defense's executive agent for designating and naming military aerospace vehicles. Air Force and Navy representatives proposed the Lightning II name during the review process.