The first F-35B Lightning II
STOVL aircraft, designated BF-1, was rolled out in December and moved
from the Lockheed Martin assembly line at Fort Worth to the Flight Line
for ground testing. The roll-out ceremony was attended by
representatives from the RN, RAF, the USMC and the Italian Air Force
USMC Commandant, General James Conway, made a
suitably stirring speech saying, "This generational leap in technology
will enable us to operate a fleet of fighter/attack aircraft from the
decks of ships, existing runways, or from unimproved surfaces at
austere bases." Just like the Harrier, then.
Joint Strike Fighter News
flight of the STOVL F-35B is likely to be delayed, according to BAE
Systems "until later this year", while Pratt & Whitney investigate
the cause of a recent turbine blade failure which occurred during
ground running of the F-119 engine. This was the second turbine blade
failure experienced by the engine.
At the roll-out
ceremony it was announced that when BF-1 does make its maiden flight
ex-Dunsfold Chief Test Pilot Graham 'GT' Tomlinson will be at the
controls after working with the Lockheed Martin team for several years.