F-35 Lightning II


The F-35 has changed allied combat warfare. But by the time the project is completed, it will cost more that the Manhattan Project and the B-2 stealth bomber. It has been subject to the most aggressive cyberattacks in history from China, Russia, North Korea, and others. Its stealth technology required nearly 9 million lines of code; NASA’s *Curiosity* Mars rover required 2.5 million. And it was *this close* to failure.

F-35 The Inside Story of the Lightning II is the only inside look at the most advanced aircraft in the world and the historic project that built it, as told by those who were intimately involved in its design, testing, and production. Based on the authors’ personal experience and over 100+ interviews, F-35 pulls back the curtain on one of the most heavily criticized government programs in history from start to finish.

For readers of Skunk Works by Ben Rich and The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, F-35 will pique the interest of airplane enthusiast, defense industry insiders, military history aficionados, political junkies, and general nonfiction readers.

Book Offer

You can purchase the book F-35 The Inside Story of the LIGHTNING II here! There are two options available:

F35 Book

Option 1

Purchase a limited Autographed First Edition while supplies last: $35.00.

F35 Book

Option 2

Purchase the book for 30% off list price; $24.50.

Order your copy today!

Want to Learn More?

If you are still undecided, checkout the Endorsements, Reviews, and Podcast links below. They will provide you more information about the book.


“During the Cold War, the F-16, which I flew, dominated the skies over Europe. Many nations anchored their fleets on its capabilities. Europe’s security now requires the capabilities of the F-35, which will dominate not only the air domain, but support information dominance across all domains, including our ground forces. Building that coalition was a strategic imperative. This books tells that story.”
General Phil Breedlove, former Commander, US Air Forces, Europe; Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

“A carrier without jets is nothing! The RN/RAF F-35 partnership is an operational necessity, but the RN/USMC F-35 partnership is strategic, and a game changer.”
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord 2013-16

“A fascinating tale of the birth of the Joint Strike Fighter. From the halls of Congress to the office of the Secretary of Defense, the fight to terminate fielding of the Lightning II was relentless. And yet because of visionary leadership and tenacity of a few, we fly this magnificent airplane today….Bravo!”
General James F. Amos, USMC (ret) 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps

“The long-standing Pacific alliance of the United States and Australia has been taken to a new level with the F-35 partnership. The F-35 has proven to be a powerful catalyst for change in whole Australian Defense Force. It has been a long and challenging journey, well told in this book, but the result has been well worth the wait.”
Air Marshal Geoff Brown, former Australian Chief of the Air Force.


“F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II” is a compelling and informative book that sheds light on one of the United States’ most ambitious military projects. The meticulous research, engaging storytelling, and balanced analysis makes this book an essential read for aviation enthusiasts, military history buffs, and anyone interested in the intricate world of defense technology.”

Tom Hines, Quarterdeck Maritime Literature and Art Review, Summer 2023

Stars and Stripes online magazine has an op-ed by Tom Burbage and Betsy Clark:

F-35 Lightning II can rise above criticism, deliver for US, allies as envisioned

The full article is HERE.


Want to hear the Authors discuss the book? Below are links to take you to different Podcast episodes.

Coffee in the Clouds

Listen to Tom Burbage and host Thomas Capone discuss the trials and tribulations in developing the F-35.

Defence Connect Podcast

Listen to Betsy Clark and host Liam Garman unpack the history and making of the F-35.

How to Bring a Large Team Together

Tom Burbage with host Dave Stachowiak explore how to bring together many stakeholders in order to do something bigger than any one of them could do alone.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Betsy Clark and Tom Burbage discuss their book F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II with hosts Carol Massar and Matt Miller.

Leadership Lab

Tom with host Dr. Patrick Leddin have a riveting conversation that delves into the complexity of accomplishing high-stakes projects involving numerous stakeholders and high public visibility.

F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II

Betsy Clark and Tom Burbage join host Steve Shallenberger for a great conversation about leadership, management, and the keys to building high-performing teams,

Everyday Warrior

With host Mike Sarraille, Tom Burbage shares his insights on building culture, government alliances, and collaboration From his role in the development of the game-changing F-35 aircraft.

Air Power Podcast

Tom joins host JJ Gurgler to discuss the toughest times in the biggest program in military history, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter..

Open Book with Anthony Scaramucci

Is the F-35 the Last Manned Fighter? Tom Burbage & Betsy Clark Tell All.

GRACE under pressure

John Baldoni with Tom Burbage

Inside The Tradeoffs That Created The F-35

Aviation Week's Jen DiMascio and Michael Bruno talk to Tom Burbage about the most challenging fighter development program in history.


Below are links to articles providing interesting insight in making the F-35 Lightning II.

Ride the Lightning: A Look into the Making of the F-35

This article from Men's Journal provides readers with an unmatched inside view of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Workplace Conflict Resolution

Authority Magazine interviews Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Tom Burbage on how Team Leaders can create the right environment to resolve conflicts.

InsideHook Magazine Chronicles the Life in an F-35 Cockpit During Wartime

Book excerpt "You start the engine. Its turbine spools upward with a whine, quickly growing into a deafening roar..."

The F-35 Works After All

Interesting article by Billie Flynn on LinkedIn Pulse about the F-35's promise as a potent 5th Gen fighter.

F-35 Lightning II: How Culture Tames Complexity

Tom Burbage talks to John Baldoni about how partnering with many parties was like dealing with a Rubik’s Cube. You can listen to the article too.

Joint Strike Fighter International Business Plan

Have a Question?

Do you have a question for us? Or need help with your book order? Go to our Contact Page and shoot us a line.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top