The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is arguably the most advanced jet ever. With countless systems to sensors onboard, the F-35 is alone at the top and usually gets lonely at the top. The F-35B variant is the most advanced of the F-35 lineup. The F-35B type, explicitly built for the Marine Corps, could break the speed of sound while in flight and perform vertical landings on the tiniest of landing pads, much like a helicopter. As advanced as the jet is, a chance for error resulting in a crash still looms.
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The jet contains an auto-eject capability system, where the jet senses the situation automatically and decides to eject the pilot itself without the pilot having to think about whether or not it is safe to do so. The seat installed is a Martin-Baker US16E type seat which delivers a previously unseen level of well-balanced optimization across critical performance factors such as safe terrain clearance limits, physiological loading limits, pilot boarding mass, and anthropometric accommodation ranges to completely satisfy the F-35 Escape System criteria.
All versions of the F-35 aircraft will share the US16E. The sole Joint Strike Fighter model with this technology is the F-35B, which is also the first American aircraft of any sort to have this capacity.
It is unclear exactly how or by what criteria the auto-eject system judges that the aircraft is not within the pilot’s control and initiates the ejection procedure. Its precise condition on the F-35B fleet is also unknown. It is well known that the US16E seats on every F-35 type are connected to the flying systems in some other way to prevent the pilot from ejecting in dangerous circumstances. It’s interesting to note that the Cold War-era Soviet Yak-38 and Yak-141 jump planes had engine configurations more akin to the F-35B.
However, both featured vertically mounted jet engines rather than lift fans and auto-eject systems. The F-35B’s inclusion of auto-eject is directly related to how challenging the aircraft’s vertical takeoff and landing is. In the hover mode, the jet’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engine’s power is directed downward through an articulating exhaust nozzle, and a large fan is mounted vertically in the center of the fuselage to create lift. The engine directly powers the lift fan through a big drive shaft connected to a carbon clutch.
The B version of the F-35 is significantly distinct from the other two primary variants. It differs from them all in so many ways that it has affected every aspect of its essential construction.