While the F-22 is the absolute tip of the spear, the F-35 will eventually provide the backbone for the United States military and other friendly militaries worldwide. It’s classified as a multi-role fighter, meaning it’s designed to do whatever the mission dictates and is not strictly a fighter aircraft. It’s a little bit of a Swiss Army knife. According to the U.S. Air Force, the F-35 was made to replace most other fighter and ground attack aircraft under its command, including the F-16, F-18, and A-10. Additionally, it is in the process of replacing the Harrier “jump-jet” under the command of the Marine Corps.
Unlike the F-22, which hasn’t been exported (and probably won’t be), the F-35 has been adopted into the militaries of the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Poland, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, and Germany. If you’re friendly with the United States and don’t mind writing a several hundred million dollar check to Lockheed Martin, you can get an F-35. Compared to the relatively small number of 183 total Raptors, Lockheed Martin says that more than 965 Lightning IIs have been sent to their new happy owners.