F-35A development aircraft AF-01 and AF-02 have flown from Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth factory in Texas nonstop to Edwards AFB in California to commence flight test operations with the USAF.
The two aircraft are the first of eight to be eventually based at Edwards for propulsion, aerial refuelling, logistical support, weapons integration and flight envelope expansion activities. “This historic moment at Edwards AFB begins the planned expansion of F-35 flight test to a third permanent operating location,” said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 test and verification. “Lockheed Martin F-35A flight testing is a highly integrated partnership with the USAF.”
Three F-35B STOVL development aircraft are based at the US Navy’s test facility at NAS Patuxent River near Washington DC, while the first F-35C is due to join the flight test program shortly.