In First, U.S. Uses F-35 Jet During Strikes Against Taliban in Afghanistan

In May, Israel became the first country to use the U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter in combat

A F-35B Lightning II aircraft from launches from the deck of an amphibious assault ship as it sets off for its first combat strike against a Taliban target in Afghanistan, September 27, 2018
\ US NAVY/ REUTERS

The United States used an F-35 jet against a Taliban target in Afghanistan earlier on Thursday, marking the first U.S. combat use of the stealthy plane, a U.S. official said.

The F-35, made by Lockheed Martin Co, comes in three variants - the F-35A conventional take-off and landing model, the F-35B, a short take-off/vertical landing version, and the F-35C, used aboard aircraft carriers.

A Marine Corps pilot prepares for a vertical landing of Lockheed Martin F-35B stealth fighter aboard the USS Wasp (LHD 1) amphibious assault carrier during their operation in the waters off Japan's southernmost island of Okinawa March 23, 2018
REUTERS/Issei Kato

In May, Israel became the first country to use the U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter in combat.

The United States and 10 partner nations are aiming to grow the F-35 fleet to more than 3,000 jets and bring the unit price of the F-35A closer to $80 million in 2020 through efficiencies gained by ordering in larger quantifies.

Lockheed is the prime contractor for the jet. Its partners include Northrop Grumman Corp, United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems Plc.