"thrust vectoring"- part of the reason the f-35 is so maneuverable. basically the tailpipe of the jet engine can be aimed to aid maneuverability. For example, in a conventional aircraft all maneuvering is the result of wing flaps (rudder, elevator and ailerons), with the jet or propellor only providing forward power. In the f-35, wing flaps as well as the engine thrust itself are used to maneuver. In fact, the "vectoring" is so extremely versatile and powerfull that it is used to lift the aircraft stright off the ground! Check these videos out... [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=iRgcC9eqEJg]
That one shows how complex that nozzle is! holy shit amazing... here she is under power...
Now, that is the main thrust for taking off in vertical mode as well as conventional flight. However there are a few more components necessary to make a 51 foot long, 50,000 pound war machine lift straight off the ground. Those components are the "lift fan" and the "roll posts". The lift fan is somewhat like a vertically mounted turbofan driven off of the main engine via a driveshaft and gearbox. Doors open up above and below the fuselage just behind the cockpit, allowing air to pass through. Its purpose is to balance the thrust created by the main engine at the rear of the plane. The two roll posts are about halfway out the underside of each wing, and redirects a small amount of the lift fans air in order to controll rolling motion. Turning motion and forward/reverse motion are controlled by the main engines thrust vectoring. Ok, kind techy sounding but here is the reality of it..
Of course it can also slow down from mach 1.8 to a dead standstill in the middle of the air, using the same principles. This is really going to freak the taliban out!