The US Air Force’s (USAF) seventh F-35 Lightning II test aircraft has taken its first flight to validate the conventional take-off and landing variant’s weapons suite.
Lockheed’s F-35 USAF program manager James Sandstrom said the aircraft is configured to test and verify the multiple weapon loads delivering fifth-generation combat capability to the warfighter.
The F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information and network-enabled operations.
It can launch supersonic internal weapons, including air-to-air missiles at maximum-speed of mach 1.6.
More than 15,000lb of additional ordnance can be loaded onto six external pylons when Very Low Observable stealth is not required.
The aircraft is supported by the F-35 Autonomic Logistics Information System and managed by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Sustainment Operations Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The jet, known as AF-2, flew for an hour during the test after taking off from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.