Posted by John McHale
PATUXENT RIVER, Md., 10 Nov. 2010. The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md. The aircraft, piloted by David Nelson, left from NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and achieved successful air refuels at a maximum load of 19,800 pounds during the flight. At Patuxent River, the F-35C will conduct air-to-air refueling and performance testing.
The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter developed and funded by a consortium of nine countries. The F-35 avionics enable the aircraft to excel in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.
Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially.