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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 646-06
July 07, 2006

Joint Strike Fighter Named Lightning II

The Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon England, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley announced today ‘Lightning II’ as the F-35 name during a Joint Strike Fighter inauguration ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas.

Moseley made the final decision after an extensive nomination and review process that was coordinated with the other military 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 area of responsibility in World War II.   Both of America’s top two aces, Maj. Richard Bong, with 40 kills, and Maj. Thomas McGuire, with 38 kills, scored all their victories in the P-38 ‘Lightning’ in World War II.  

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.

The F-35 ‘Lightning II’ is the next generation strike fighter bringing cutting-edge technologies to the battlespace of the future. The ‘Lightning II’ advanced airframe, 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.