A military internet discussion forum has concluded that the new name most favoured for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter when it enters service is Phœnix.
The poll of around 100 readers of F-16.net showed 23% favoured taking the name of the mythical bird that rises from the ashes. Second choice was Lightning II, currently considered most likely US Air Force reporting name to be granted by US president George Bush if he visits Lockheed Martin’s F-35 line in Fort Worth as scheduled next Friday. The aircraft programme's working name, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), reflecting the aircraft's use by USA's Marine Corps, navy and air force will be replaced once the aircraft enters service, although the US Department of Defense has refused to reveal any firm plans.
Current DoD nomenclature favours birds of prey, ergo the Boeing F-15 Eagle, the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 [Fighting] Falcon and F/A-22 Raptor. However, it is understood the DoD will break this naming convention and instead honour classic military aircraft.
The UK is a first level partner on the F-35 programme and speculation on the discussion site says the two governments will agree a moniker, leading to rumour of a Spitfire II name.
Lightning II, once reserved provisionally for the F-22, is also on the short list, according to insiders. Other names on a provisional shortlist, leaked to various web forums, are: Cyclone, Reaper, Black Mamba and Piasa. Other names reportedly rejected include Mustang II, Fury, Scorpion, Phantom III and Sky Ruler.
View the full poll on F-16.net and the discussion surrounding the issue of renaming the Lockheed Martin F-35