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July 07, 2006


Just in time for the last war, the fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is unveiled today in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a thing of beauty.

Lockheed Martin will formally unveil the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter during an inauguration and nicknaming ceremony where more than 1,000 people are expected to attend, including members of Congress and top military officials.

The nickname for the fighter jet has not yet been revealed but odds are the plane will be nicknamed Lightning or Lightning Two, NBC 5 reported. Lockheed's World War II fighter, the P-38, was also nicknamed Lightning.

P-38 Update: With a nod to history, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has now been officially christened the Lightning II.

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.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 7, 2006 10:54 AM


"Just in time for the last war..."

Are you saying we won't get our money's worth out of these babies? It's not exactly outdated yet.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 11:32 AM

I am not sure what I meant by it. Certainly, these aircraft are worth building; they will be invaluable to the Royal Air Force/Navy. If they are half as useful and adaptable as the F-16 has proved to be they will pay for themselves many times over.

That said, it is frustrating to me to see this roll out today. London was bombed a year ago by men bent on murder on an even greater scale than they managed and yet somehow the country lacks the spine to imprison or expel those who instigated the deed; let alone hang them for sedition and treason. We can have all the high-tech gadgets we like and even find the will to deploy them in those few set piece battles our adversaries are stupid enough to allow us. But without the basic confidence to assert our freedom to publish some cartoons the F-35 may be the last new fighter craft built by the West before Númenor is reclaimed by the sea.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 11:45 AM

In that sense the point is well taken, then.

The only reason we are not imprisoning, expelling, and hanging for treason is because we still have the luxury of well, denying ourselves those methods. The threat is not yet perceived to be existential.

If (or pessimistically, when) a city gets wiped off the map, things will get a little more venal and everyone will remember why exactly this imperfect way of life is a million times better than the proposed caliphate way of life.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 11:54 AM

I think it is a near certainty we are going to lose a city or two before this is done. Or rather before this begins in earnest. And by we I mean "the West" (including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, etc.). Even then, I expect there will be a substantial constituency for nihilism and surrender. To paraphrase Golda Meir: We will never have a common cause against islamism until "progressives" learn to love their own liberty more than they hate the United States.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 7, 2006 11:59 AM

1. The Eurofighter was named "Typhoon" vice "Typhoon 2" with some recognition to the "Typhoon" and "Taifun" of 2WW. Whether the name continues outside of official publications has yet to be seen.
2. The C-17 is fairly well-known; who remembers that it is but the Third "Globemaster"?
3. The A-10 has long been the "Thunderbolt II", but its popular name is the "Hog".
4. It will be interesting to find out what the pilots will call it ...
5. Lightning II? Phui!


Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 9, 2006 05:39 PM

Sigh. It's like cars - all the cool names got used up long ago.

Posted by: squawkbox [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 11, 2006 12:12 AM