As one of the very few fifth-generation fighter planes in existence, the F-35 Lightning is one of the most impressive machines you can come across in the skies of today’s world. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) knows this, and since it lacks any major conflicts to show the plane’s combat prowess, it seems content in advertising the plane’s capabilities any way it can during air shows.
The latest such advertisement, recently released by the USAF, comes from Huntington Beach, California, where at the beginning of October the Pacific Air Show took place. As usual, the event was attended by the F-35s own demonstration team.
The upside-down airplane you see here is flown by the team’s commander, Maj. Kristin Wolfe, and is the star of an important moment in the aircraft’s history: it was the first time when the F-35 deployed flares during a public performance.
And we must say, even if we’ve seen this exact plane and this exact pilot in incredible postures over the past year, the image we have here must certainly be the most impressive of them all.
The F-35 started being flown by the American military 15 years ago, so it didn’t really get a chance to prove its skills in combat. The first use of the jet in a military sense dates back to 2018, when the Israeli Air Force deployed them against targets in Syria.
As far as we know, the plane was not involved in any dog fights, but if it were, it would probably be an incredible adversary. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine capable of generating 43,000 lbf (190 kN) of thrust with the afterburner on, the machine can reach a speed of Mach 1.6 (1,227 mph/1,975 kph).
And by the looks of it, it can handle some really extreme maneuvers as well.