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Fifth F-35B Lightning II fighter begins flight test

The BF-3, the latest F-35B Lightning II fighter to begin flight test, approached the Naval Air Station Fort Worth following a one-hour maiden flight on Wednesday. A Lockheed Martin Photo

FORT WORTH, US (BNS): An F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter aircraft descended on the runway here on Wednesday for operational testing.

The fifth-generation aircraft, called BF-3, is the fifth aircraft in the series to start its flight testing, Lockheed Martin said.

It joins two other F-35Bs and one F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft currently undergoing active flight test. The first CTOL F-35, AA-1, is now preparing for live-fire testing, the company said.

The BF-3 was flown for nearly an hour during which the aircraft’s handling qualities, engine functionality, landing gear operation and basic subsystem performance were checked.

It has been designed to conduct flight sciences test work and will be used primarily to evaluate vehicle systems and expand the aircraft’s aerodynamic and structural-loads envelope.

The new fighter will then be deployed at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where it will carry and release most of the weapons the F-35B will employ in combat, Lockheed said.

The F-35 is a fifth-generation multi-role stealth combat aircraft capable of performing close air support, tactical bombing and air defence missions. It is being designed to replace the existing fleet of fighter aircraft of nine partnering countries.

US defence major Lockheed Martin is building the fighter with its main industrial partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

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Brahmand World Defence Update 2023

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