Lockheed Martin’s art department has produced a striking nine-picture series of F-35As flying in the colors of the USAF Thunderbird aerial demonstration team, It wasn’t supposed to be in general circulation - but as often happens, it leaked out under the studio door somehow. It is a fine example of digital software prowess even if it doesn’t tell us anything about value to the warfighter.
Perhaps if they had painted F-22’s in Thunderbird colors, the current congressional vs. White House/Pentagon debate about funding more Raptors might not be so close. (Not to mention that it would beat the early-1970s F-4E team as the noisiest act of all time.)
Lockheed Martin has been building fully functional and realistic 3D models of all the F-35 variants for some time, but the art department apparently started taking some excursions from the standard combat images.
The Thunderbird series started out as an internal exercise, “But then it grew legs and started walking around the internet,” says a company official.
Just as a reminder, the F-35A is the conventional takeoff Air Force version, F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant for the U.S. Marine Corps and Royal Navy and the F-35C is designed for the stress of U.S. Navy aircraft carrier landings and catapult launches.