Notice all the little doors closing in the “First Vertical Landing” video. (There are three F-35 videos.)
Yes, the Harrier hovered, too. But it wasn’t stealthy, Lockheed Martin says, it couldn’t go supersonic, and had half the payload and a little more than half the range. Flight controls of the F-35 are digital and the pilot can hover hands off, while the Harrier controls were analog and the pilot had to have the right stuff.
The F-35B engine drives a counter-rotating lift fan located behind the cockpit, which combines with engine thrust via a vectored rear nozzle, and two bleed-air roll ducts under the wings to produce more than 41,000 pounds of thrust without the use of an afterburner; the Harrier essentially diverts engine thrust down or aft.
A “mission systems” F-35 flew for the first time April 7 carrying 5.5 million lines of never-flown-before computer code.