Known as the Joint Strike Fighter (previously the Joint Advanced Strike Technology) program, the F-35 Lightning II is a family of multi-role aircraft developed under a multinational acquisition program.
In cooperation with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, the F-35 is currently under development and production by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin was selected by the Department of Defense (DOD) on October 26, 2001 after beating out competition from McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing in the design and demonstration phases of the program (1994-2001). The aircraft will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine.
The distinguishing feature of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) version of the JSF is its short takeoff/vertical landing capability (STOVL). There will not be an internally mounted machine gun, but an external gun can be fitted. This version requires controllability on all axes while hovering. Another critical design feature is its impact on the ground surface beneath it during hover. The USMC expects their version of the JSF will replace the F/A-18 Hornet and the AV-8 Harrier. The Marine Corps expects to purchase 480 STOVL versions of the F-35.