Lockheed Martin has rolled out the first F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft for the United Kingdom.
The jet, BK-1, will undergo functional fuel system checks before heading to the flight line for ground and flight tests in the coming months. It is to be delivered to the UK for training and further testing in 2012.
Interestingly, the UK’s Strategic Defence Review conducted late last year called for its order for 138 F-35Bs to be changed to the carrier F-35C model, and for its first QEII class aircraft carrier to be equipped with conventional catapults and arrestor gear. The UK reportedly made representations to the US government earlier this year to change its first two early build aircraft which were already in production to F-35Cs, possibly with a swap of airframes with the US Navy and Marine Corps, but it is not known whether those talks have progressed.
BK-1 is the first F-35 produced for a country other than the US, Lockheed Martin said.