The aircraft had been delayed in Fort Worth for several months after completing its hover pit testing in April. The tests will comprise a ‘step down’ approach to vertical flight where the aircraft will takeoff conventionally and be gradually slowed down over a series of flights until it achieves a hover and vertical landing.
During its deployment to Pax River, BF-1 will also become the first of the four F-35s currently flying to be supported by Lockheed Martin’s Autonomic Logistics Information Systems (ALIS), a program designed to monitor and support the health of all US and customer F-35s worldwide when in service.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has signed a US$171m (A$183m) contract with Pratt & Whitney to supply liftsystems for nine Lot Three F-35B STOVL low rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft. This order is the second production order for the system for Rolls-Royce as part of the JSF development program, and will see the company provide the liftfan, roll-control roll posts, and the three-bearing swivel module to go with the main P&W F135 engine.