F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II (Hardcover)

F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II By Tom Burbage, Betsy Clark, Adrian Pitman, David Poyer Cover Image
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The inside story of the most expensive and controversial military program in history, as told by those who lived it.

The F-35 has changed allied combat warfare. But by the time it’s completed, it will cost more than the Manhattan Project and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. It has been subject to the most aggressive cyberattacks in history from China, Russia, North Korea, and others. Its stealth technology required nearly 9 million lines of code; NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover required 2.5 million. And it was this close to failure.

F-35 is the only inside look at the most advanced aircraft in the world and the historic project that built it, as told by those who were intimately involved in its design, testing, and production. Based on the authors' personal experience and over 100+ interviews, F-35 pulls back the curtain on one of the most heavily criticized government programs in history from start to finish: the dramatic flights that won Lockheed Martin the contract over Boeing; the debates and decisions over capabilities; feats of software, hardware, and aeronautical engineering that made it possible; how the project survived the Nunn-McCurdy breach; the conflicts among all three branches of the U.S. military, between the eight other allied nation partners, and against spy elements from enemies.

For readers of Skunk Works by Ben Rich and The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, F-35 will pique the interest of airplane enthusiasts, defense industry insiders, military history aficionados, political junkies, and general nonfiction readers.


About the Author

Tom Burbage was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. In that position, he led the Concept Demonstration Phase and Lockheed Martin’s competitive selection as the Prime Contractor in October 2001. He then led the first decade of the program design, development, test and production. Prior to his assignment on the F-35, he led the F-22 Raptor development program and was the President of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company. Before joining Lockheed Martin, Tom was a Naval Aviator, completing the US Navy Test Pilot School and accumulating more than 3,000 flight hours in 38 different types of military aircraft. He received a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the US Naval Academy and holds master's degrees in Aeronautical Systems from the University of West Florida and Business Administration from UCLA.

Betsy Clark has had a front-row seat to the F-35 Program and has watched it evolve over the past 12 years.  She first became involved as a member of a review team from the US Department of Defense in 2010 and has participated in eight additional reviews, providing independent advice to the Australian Defense Department on the status of the program. Betsy began her career in 1979 after earning her doctorate in cognitive psychology.  Betsy has spent the past 35 years studying large, complex software development projects and has reviewed countless defense projects in the US and Australia.

Adrian Pitman was the Director of Acquisition Engineering Improvement in the Australian Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) when he was tasked in 2011 to lead an independent Australian review of the F-35 Program prior to Australia formally committing to buy the first 14 of 100 F-35 aircraft. Adrian subsequently participated in a total of nine F-35 reviews, up until 2015. Adrian has spent 55 years of military service in the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Department of Defence. Over this time, he has worked or been associated with, five generations of British, French and USA jet fighter aircraft operated by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Praise For…

“During the Cold War, the F-16, which I flew, dominated the skies over Europe. Many nations anchored their fleets on its capabilities. Europe's security now requires the capabilities of the F-35, which will dominate not only the air domain, but support information dominance across all domains, including our ground forces. Building that coalition was a strategic imperative. This book tells that story.”
—General Phil Breedlove, former Commander, U.S. Air Forces, Europe; Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

"A carrier without jets is nothing! The RN/RAF F35 partnership is an operational necessity, but the RN/USMC F35 partnership is strategic, and a game changer.”
—Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord 2013-16

“A fascinating tale of the birth of the Joint Strike Fighter. From the halls of Congress to the office of the Secretary of Defense, the fight to terminate fielding of the Lightning II was relentless. And yet because of the visionary leadership and tenacity of a few, we fly this magnificent airplane today…Bravo!”
—General James F. Amos, USMC (ret) 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps

“The F-35 is a tale of many innovations and firsts because of the commitment of many talented individuals and the creation of true partnerships across industry and nations. The significant impact the F-35 has had on reshaping air power and transforming air dominance operations is unmatched. We have overcome the challenges of that journey and I am proud to be part of the global F-35 team.”
—Greg Ulmer, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; former Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and General Manager, F-35
“The long-standing Pacific alliance of the United States and Australia has been taken to a new level with the F-35 partnership. The F-35 has proven to be a powerful catalyst for change in whole Australian Defence Force. It has been a long and challenging journey, well told in this book, but the result has been well worth the wait."
 —Air Marshal Geoff Brown, former Australian Chief of Air Force
"Remarkably, few authors have attempted yet to write the definitive history of this most puzzling and historically significant program. Fortunately, a new book, entitled F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II, has arrived, seeking to lend an insiderʼs context and insight into the three-decade history of what is often described as the most expensive weapon system in history."
Aviation Week

“The future of fighter aviation in the first decades of the 21st century will be centered around the F-35's ability to rule the sky. This compelling history, as told by many of the key participants, is a tribute to the inspired leadership, dedication, and genius of thousands that made the seemingly impossible dream of the Joint Strike Fighter come true.”
Jon Beesley, F-35 Chief Test Pilot
“This book captures the heroic efforts that brought forth 5th Generation fighter technology to the world.”
—Alan B. Norman, F-35 Chief Test Pilot

Product Details
ISBN: 9781510777576
ISBN-10: 1510777571
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication Date: July 18th, 2023
Pages: 416
Language: English