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First F-35 jet for UK makes maiden flight


FORT WORTH, TEXAS (BNS): The first production F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft for UK has made its maiden flight last week.

The short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, designated BK-1, made its debut flight on April 13, Lockheed Martin announced Monday.

A series of functional flight checks were conducted during the flight that lasted for 45 minutes.

The jet will undergo a series of flight trials before being handed over to the UK Defence Ministry which will then use the 5th Generation fighter for training and operational tests at the Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, beginning later this year, Lockheed said.

BK-1, which was rolled out in November 2011, is the first of three F-35 fighter jets - two F-35Bs and one F-35C - Britain has committed to buy for training and operational tests.

The country has invested around $2 billion for the F-35 programme with over 100 UK firms involved in the project, including BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.

While a final decision on the total number of F-35s it will acquire is still pending, the UK Government is now reconsidering its decision to buy the F-35C carrier variants of the jets and may switch back to ordering the F-35B STOVL variants as decided originally.

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UK  F-35  

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