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10 Technologies You Didn’t Know Could Fit In A Single Aircraft

See what's inside the most technologically advanced aircraft in the skies today, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

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1. A pilot helmet that can see 360 degrees around the jet at once.

For so long, X-ray vision has eluded everyone but science-fiction writers. Until now. Using imagery from six infrared cameras in the aircraft's skin, the helmet F-35 pilots wear allows them to "look through the airframe" for an unprecedented 360° view.

2. A virtually undetectable, radar-absorbent body...

Lockheed Martin / Via Flickr: lockheedmartin

Stealth isn't speed. It's evasion, and the F-35's sleek design and radar-absorbent body make the plane "virtually undetectable by radar." And each aircraft's two-year production ends with a precise coating process performed by robots.

4. A "brain" that paints a real-time picture of the battlefield.

Lockheed Martin / Via Flickr: lockheedmartin

They don't call it a flying supercomputer for nothing. The F-35 parses huge amounts of data from on-board sensors. Test pilot Alan Norman explains: "The airplane [is] all interconnected with fiber, so we have a supersonic fiber network flying around."

5. The first-ever 360-degree situational awareness system...

Lockheed Martin / Via Flickr: lockheedmartin

The only one of its kind, the F-35's Distributed Aperture System is a "360-degree, spherical situational awareness" sensor, offering everything from missile detection to night vision. In short, it sees the enemy before they know they've been seen.

6. exceptional targeting technology.

Lockheed Martin / Via Flickr: lockheedmartin

Encased in a sapphire window below the cockpit is a sensor, the Electro-Optical Targeting System. Combining two types of infrared technologies, the EOTS gives pilots high-resolution imagery and superior targeting capabilities.

7. A robust IT network capable of supporting future aircraft.

Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

It takes a lot of ingenuity to maintain an F-35. Specifically, it takes the Autonomic Logistics Information System. As Staff Sgt. Jason Ferguson explains, "ALIS is a computer-based network that we use to document all our aircraft maintenance."

8. The most advanced avionics system ever engineered.

Lockheed Martin / Via Flickr: lockheedmartin

When you sign up to pilot the world's most advanced aircraft, "multitasking" should be a skill on your résumé. Luckily, the F-35's avionics allow you to balance several operations at once — like friend-or-foe identification and precise enemy targeting.

9. An engine that can tell mechanics what's wrong if it breaks.

Lockheed Martin / Via Flickr: lockheedmartin

Powering an aircraft that can reach a top speed of 1.6 Mach (or, as we call it, 1,200 mph) is no easy job. Fortunately, the last few years have seen research into vibration-based prognostics, so the F-35's engine is constantly monitored.

10. And, finally, propulsion technology that allows it to hover in midair.

Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Parking in a city garage is tough, but parking in midair? You'd think it impossible, but thanks to the F-35's propulsion technology, the aircraft can balance mid-flight and descend to the ground vertically. What's more, it's initiated by a single button!

There’s more to the F-35 than meets the eye. Get up to speed on the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft at