Lockheed Martin has successfully flight-tested the ninth F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter using the next-generation avionics package that will be fitted on all operational F-35s.

During the first flight, the F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant, known as AF-3, flew for 42 minutes collecting mission systems data before a storm stopped operations.

Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Test and Verification, Doug Pearson, said the AF-3 is very much like the first production F-35s it will deliver to the U.S. Air Force later this year.

“AF-3 will be the workhorse for demonstrating the lethal fifth-generation combat mission systems capability that will reside in all F-35s,” said Pearson.

The jet will soon be tested with its AESA radar, electronic warfare system, integrated communication, navigation and identification system, and inertial navigation system as well as the global positioning system, integrated core processor and helmet-mounted display system.

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