Lockheed Martin's first F-35C Lightning II has touched down at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, with the aircraft sporting a new colour scheme.
The first flight-test example of the carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter landed at the site after a ferry flight from Fort Worth, Texas. "The flight was perfect," says Lockheed test pilot David "Doc" Nelson.
Aircraft CF-01 was supported by a US Marine Corps KC-130 tanker during the trip, and "achieved successful air refuels at a maximum load of 19,800lb [8,980kg]," says Lockheed. It will now be used to support further air-to-air refuelling activities and other performance tests at Patuxent River.
Both images © Lockheed Martin
The US Navy will be the launch operator for the F-35C, with the UK having recently announced a decision to switch its planned JSF buy from the short take-off and vertical landing B-variant to the larger carrier version.