Lockheed Martin has confirmed that the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) demonstrator – named BF-1 - completed its first flight today shortly after 11 am in Fort Worth, Texas.

Details of the roughly half-hour flight will be revealed during a Lockheed news conference scheduled later today.

Last month tests were conducted at Lockheed’s hover pit, which allows engineers to measure vertical thrust generated by the engine. This was the last major stage before today's first flight event for BF-1.

 © Lockheed Martin
The STOVL demonstrator BF-1 took off for its first flight on 11 June

The first flight marks the airborne debut of the first "optimized" airframe and propulstion system for the F-35, which was redesigned in 2004 to remove thousands of pounds of extra weight. The first flight test aircraft -- AA-1 -- flew in the original design.

This aircraft represents the first STOVL-powered aircraft to enter flight test. The US Department of Defense had withheld funds for purchasing the next six STOVL-powered aircraft until Lockheed had completed first flight.


Source: Flight International