Well. It’s not the worst name I could think of (full story behind a tedious Dallas Morning News subscription process):
The Air Force chief of staff will name the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by June 30, choosing from six monikers that range from the historic to the arcane, military and industry officials say.
Officials at Lockheed Martin Corp., which largely builds the new multiservice stealth aircraft in Fort Worth, hope President Bush will announce the winning name in a visit to the factory proposed for July 7.
The six finalists being considered by Gen. T. Michael “Buzz” Moseley, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, include two based on famed World War II fighters: Lightning II ‚Äì the odds-on favorite ‚Äì and Spitfire II.
The P-38 Lightning was built by Lockheed and flown by Richard Bong, the leading American ace of World War II with 40 kills of enemy aircraft.
The Spitfire was the British fighter credited with winning the 1940 Battle of Britain by taking on German fighters and bombers.
The F-35, which got its numerical designation after Lockheed won the contract five years ago, is to make its first flight this fall.
Myself? I was holding out for Crusader II. In honor of the “last gunfighter.” Which somehow missed the cut for final selection.
Anyways, as the article finishes up, what the services end up calling their jets is often not what pilots call them:
In the Air Force, “very few guys I know call the F-16 the Fighting Falcon,” Maj. Roberts said. “It’s the Viper.”
And Mr. Sweetman observed that the A-10, a ground attack jet still in use, is officially the Thunderbolt II but is affectionately called the Warthog because of its clunky lines.
“It’s silly business, really,” Mr. Sweetman said, “because the aircraft are very seldom known by their real names.”
Yeah. The A-6 Intruder? “Flying Drumstick.” Sorry, B2. The A-7 Corsair II? “SLUF,” and “Sewerpipe,” among others – sorry, Jonboy. F-14 Tomcats were “Turkeys,” until just recently. On account of how graceful they looked, coming aboard. Now? We calls ‘em dinosaurs, gomen nasai, Pinch.
You: “What about the Hornet, Lex?”
Me: “Oh, that? That’s what we self-deprecatingly refer to as, ‘God’s jet.’”
(Little something for the boyz in Oz, there, btw.)