Christmas comes early for Joint Strike Fighter

Lockheed Martin confirms the BF-1 — an F-35 flight test aircraft — yesterday ended a 33-day, post-ferry hiatus, finally logging its first flight from the US Navy test center at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland. The video above shows when the F-35 first arrived at Pax River on 15 November.

The short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) variant’s pre-Christmas sortie came as slight surprise, as Lockheed passed word only two days ago that BF-1′s next flight may not come for another week. It was not immediately clear if yesterday’s flight counted towards the roughly 12-sortie-series required to complete the first vertical landing, a long-awaited milestone event for the program.


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