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First UK F-35 takes to the skies

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 17, 2012
The UK's first F-35 has made its maiden flight. (Lockheed Martin)

The UK’s first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has made its maiden flight, marking the first time an F-35 destined for a country other than the US has taken to the skies.

Designated as BK-1, the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B made a 45 minute sortie over Texas on Friday with a Lockheed Martin test pilot at the controls. The aircraft will complete a series of company and government checkout flights prior to its acceptance by the UK Ministry of Defence, which will use it for training and operational tests at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida beginning later this year.

“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 UK, ” said Group Captain Harv Smyth, the Joint Strike Fighter UK national deputy.

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