Why the F-35B Stealth Fighter Could Make Aircraft Carriers Even Deadlier
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August 25, 2019 - by Sebastien Roblin for nationalinterest.org
While the F-35A design incorporates performance tradeoffs compared to its land-based predecessors, the F-35B is a leap ahead in virtually every metric compared to the Harrier. That, in turn, makes smaller amphibious assault ships that can carry F-35Bs much more appealing to medium-sized navies.
Naval aviation has from the beginning been a challenging and expensive endeavor. Until recently, fewer and fewer countries found they had the resources to operate even a single aircraft carrier capable of operating fixed-wing aircraft.
But carriers may be on the verge of a global comeback. China's ambitious aircraft carrier program is already well documented—but Beijing's northeastern neighbors are set to deploy three new aircraft carriers between them. The United Kingdom will soon have two carriers of its own, as will Italy.
There's a common factor behind these developments, and that is the F-35B stealth jet....