America Wants Its F-35 Stealth Fighter To Rule the Skies Well Into 2070

Kris Osborn

Key point: America builds its weapon systems to last decades. The high-tech F-35 was built to fight and win for at least 50 years.

The Air Force has begun early testing, software development and weapons integration for its upcoming Block 4 variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an emerging model intended to give the multi-role fighter a new dimension of attack mission possibilities, service leaders said.

The new version, to emerge in the early 2020s, will add new long-range precision-tracking weapons such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and also integrate a computer-generated automatic ground collision avoidance technology.

“The next step for F-35 weapons integration will be to address the weapon requirements within Block 4. Integration of the Small Diameter Bomb II has already begun, and flight test is scheduled to start as early as 2019,” Capt. Emily Grabowski, Air Force Spokeswoman, told Warrior Maven in a statement.

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