The third Lockheed Martin F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) Lightning II for the United Kingdom arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Tuesday where it will be used for pilot and maintainer training. U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Roger Hardy piloted the aircraft known as BK-3 (ZM137) on its 90-minute ferry flight from the Lockheed Martin F-35 production facility at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.
“In less than a year, we have taken ownership of our first three aircraft and begun both pilot and engineer training,” said Group Captain Harv Smyth, the U.K.'s Joint Strike Fighter National Deputy.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, headquartered in the U.K. The U.S. Marine Corps plans to declare Initial Operational Capability with the STOVL in 2015.
The program's more than 500 British suppliers will build 15 percent of each F-35 produced. U.K. industry is responsible for numerous F-35 components including the aft fuselage, fuel system and crew escape system. Key F-35 suppliers in the U.K. include BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Martin-Baker, SELEX, Cobham, Ultra Electronics, UTC Actuation Systems and Rolls-Royce.
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