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  • First U.K. F-35 Flies
    Posted by Robert Wall 7:54 AM on Apr 16, 2012

    blog post photo
    (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

    The first F-35 for the U.K. has now logged its first flight.

    BK-1 flew for around 45 minutes from Lockheed Martin's Ft. Worth, Tex. facility, with
    Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti at the controls.

    The aircraft, one of three test aircraft the U.K. will buy, still has to be formally handed over to the customer, due around mid-year. The test aircraft will be used eventually by the U.K. at Eglin AFB, Fla., as part of the training and operational test program there.

    In a statement,
    Group Capt. Harv Smyth, the Joint Strike Fighter U.K. National Deputy says that "not only is this a watershed moment for the Joint Strike Fighter program, since BK-1 is the first international F-35 to fly, but it also brings us one step closer to delivery of this essential 5th Generation capability for the U.K.,"

    The U.K. is buying three test aircraft. BK-1 and BK-2 have been built. The third test aircraft is currently due to be an F-35C (CK-1), after the 2010 decision by London to switch from buying F-35B Stovl aircraft to the F-35C carrier configuration. With that decision potentially being reversed, though, it is unclear whether the U.K. would revert back to the original plan to go for BK-3.

    Tags: ar99, JSF, tacar

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