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Lockheed's F-35 version for US Navy completes first flight

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U.S. Navy version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35C makes its first flight at US Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

FORT WORTH (BNS): Lockheed Martin’s first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant for US Navy has made its inaugural flight from US Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

The aircraft took off at 11:46 a.m. and logged a 57 min flight on Sunday, assuring a future of long-range, first-day-of-the-war stealth striking capability to the US Navy's big-deck carriers.

The F-35C aircraft mission systems will provide Carrier Strike Group Commander with an unprecedented ability to counter a broad spectrum of threats and win in operational scenarios.

“As a long-range, stealthy, carrier-based aircraft, the F-35C will provide Naval Aviators a fifth-generation fighter with the most advanced technology possible to perform our nation's missions,” Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, Commander of Naval Air Forces, said in a Lockheed Martin news release.

The aircraft is unique in its uncompromised carrier suitability, with a larger wing and control surfaces for safe, precise handling and low approach speeds to the carrier. The aircraft is designed with over-the-nose visibility and additional structural strength for at-sea operations.

"For the first time ever, and from now on, wherever on the world’s oceans we position a 98,000-ton nuclear carrier, we can launch a long-range, lethal, stealth strike fighter with the ability to defeat the most sophisticated air defences," Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration, said in the release.

“Sunday’s flight marks the beginning of the true introduction of a next-generation weapon system capable of providing joint, coalition striking power on Day One, from both land and sea bases,” he added.

The F-35C Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter as it combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, advanced sustainment and lower operational and support costs.

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