The US Air Force’s (USAF) 156th F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin has completed its maiden flight in Fort Worth, Texas.
The aircraft, designated as AF-88, conducted its check-out flight equipped with Finmeccanica-Aeronautics-built first F-35A full wing set.
The wing set was delivered by the company as part of the contract signed to carry out 835 full wing assemblies in support of the F-35 programme.
Prior to inducting the aircraft into service at Nellis Air Force Base, Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) pilots will conduct their US government check-out flights for further evaluations.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Business Development vice-president Jack Crisler said: "From the beginning of the programme, Italian industry has influenced the aircraft’s design and capabilities.
"Italian-made parts and components are installed in every F-35 produced.
"Italian industry will support the F-35 for more than 30 years, from production of parts and final assembly of aircraft to replacement parts and regional sustainment work."
The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth generation fighter powered with advanced stealth, fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Italy received its first F-35 in December. A fleet of 90 F-35As and Bs will replace the Panavia Tornado, AMX and AV-8B aircraft, and serve the country’s air force (Aeronautica Militare) and navy (Marina Militare).
The F-35 has previously joined Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the US.
Image: The aircraft will be inducted into service at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Photo: ©2016 Lockheed Martin Corporation.