A New STOVL
The Harrier is coming to the end of its life. It will be replaced by a STOVL version of the new U. S. fighter plane, the F-35 Lightning II, or Joint Strike Fighter.
The STOVL F-35, called the F-35B, works differently from the Harrier.
The designers of the F-35B faced the problem of producing a supersonic fighter and attack plane that also could manage vertical flight. A jet engine big enough and powerful enough to provide all the lift needed for short takeoff would make the plane too broad and heavy for supersonic flight. A different method had to be found to produce more lift from a smaller engine suitable for supersonic flight. The new aircraft achieves vertical flight by using both vectored thrust and extra vertical thrust from a lift fan.
When the pilot wants to perform short takeoff or vertical landing, the engine nozzle in the aircraft’s tail swivels downward. In addition, doors on the top and bottom of the plane open,
and a spinning fan behind the pilot blows air downward to provide extra lift. The fan is powered by a shaft that comes out of the front of the jet engine. When the fan is not needed, it is disconnected from the engine and powered down. The F-35B will be the world’s first operational supersonic STOVL aircraft.
• Aircraft, Military • Autogiro
• Helicopter • Lift and Drag
• Propeller • Takeoff and Landing