BK-1, the United Kingdom’s first F-35 Lightning II production aircraft, flew its inaugural flight last Friday with Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti taking the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet through a series of functional flight checks during a sortie that lasted 45 minutes.
The jet will now complete a series of company and government checkout flights prior to its acceptance by the UK Ministry of Defence.
"Not only is this a watershed moment for the Joint Strike Fighter program, since BK-1 is the first international F-35 to fly, but it also brings us one step closer to delivery of this essential 5th Generation capability for the UK, " said Group Captain Harv Smyth, the Joint Strike Fighter UK National Deputy.
The UK MOD will use this 5th Generation fighter for training and operational tests at Eglin Air Force Base, beginning later this year.
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