Ed Yeates ReportingIt flies low, high, faster than any other aircraft and is deadly quiet. Hold on to your hat! This new futuristic plane will blow you away, and Utah is making part of it.
The F-35 joint strike fighter, as it's called, is leaner, faster, and quieter than anything we've seen before. And it can set down almost anywhere.
Edward Linhart, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics: "The lighter you are, the stronger you are, the more maneuvers you can do and the farther you can go on the same tank of gas."
Computers on board will process twice the information of super high-tech F-22. And its wings, which can take almost any maneuver, are being built as a single span graphite composite by ATK in Clearfield.
With this new technology, you can now take a single composite fiber and literally wind it in any direction into any kind of matrix. That's why we're now talking about a single 35 foot span wing on an aircraft, with no seams.
New computerized machines at the Utah plant can now shape graphite fibers in precise thicknesses into almost any size part.
Nick Viahakis, Vice President, ATK: "This is a 35-foot span. There's nobody that can do that in this country. This is the only facility that can handle that one size part."
Linhart: "It's the largest piece ever made as a continuous piece."
The composite wing is 40 percent lighter than aluminum but three times stronger than steel. It can handle all kinds of motion, from short turns and dives to quick take-offs and landings.
The fighter not only zooms around at top speeds at any height, but lands and takes off vertically. And enemy beware-- you won't hear it coming.
Linhart: “Stealthiness makes a big difference. They don’t know you’re there.”
ATK landed an initial $14 million contract from the government to make the wing and other parts for this revolutionary striker fighter.
The F-35 Striker will come in several versions - one for the Air Force, another for the Marines, a third for the Navy, and yet another model for the British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.