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I was talking to my study-buddy about the Joint Strike Fighter the other day and started digging around on the Internet to find information about the variants of this aircraft.
I hit paydirt when I found the official Joint Strike Fighter Program web site.
What's really interesting about this aircraft and the (so far) three variations of it is that 70% of the parts are compatible/interchangeable between the three versions.
SIDENOTE: For some reason, the 70% number sticks in my mind although I cannot find this particular figure on the JSF site. If I'm in error on this number, please forgive me.
Commonality(Not to mention this graphic might be why I'm thinking ~70%.)
Commonality is the key to affordability – on the assembly line; in shared-wing planforms; in common systems that enhance maintenance, field support and service interoperability; and in almost 100 percent commonality of the avionics suite. Component commonality across all three variants reduces unique spares requirements and the logistics footprint. In addition to reduced flyaway costs, the F-35 is designed to affordably integrate new technology during its entire life cycle.
This increase in redundancy will not only allow the Defense Department to reduce the necessity of spare parts for all sorts of front-line aircraft in the 21st century, but it will also enable 'cross-decking' (pardon me, it's a Navy term) of spare parts AND maintenance personell between the services.
The differences between them might not be obvious:
As I said to my friend about this: Overall, freaking cool.