The sixth F-35 JSF development aircraft made its first flight from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility on April 7.
The aircraft, an F-35B dubbed BF-4, is the first of the planned 20 development aircraft to be fitted with a mission system and sensor suite, and Block 0.5 flight software. Sensors fitted include an APG-81 AESA radar, electronic warfare suite, and the pilot’s VSI helmet mounted display. Still to be installed are the electro-optical (EO) targeting system and 360-deg EO distributed aperture system.
The aircraft, which flew 13 months later than scheduled, reached an altitude of 15,500ft during its 51 minute flight.