While I was looking at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter on display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center, I must confess to mixed feelings. On the one hand, the F-35 is an aesthetically wonderful aircraft–one cannot help but admire its long sleek lines and its graceful stealthy curves–and it represents some of the most advanced technology in the world. As a matter of history, it may also represent the last major manned military fighter ever to be designed. On the other hand, the F-35 has the dubious honor of being the most expensive military project ever undertaken by humans, and can only be viewed as a seemingly bottomless money pit.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, on display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center. This is the Marines short-takeoff vertical-landing “B” version.