The third Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) Lightning II for the United Kingdom arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., yesterday where it will be used for pilot and maintainer training.
Delivering the F-35
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.
“Today’s arrival of BK-3 is the latest step in delivering the F-35’s unprecedented capability to UK Defence,” said Group Captain Harv Smyth, the UK’s Joint Strike Fighter National Deputy. “With each passing day, our ‘Lightning’ programme is maturing. In less than a year, we have taken ownership of our first three aircraft and begun both pilot and engineer training. The ‘Lightning’ truly represents a turning point for U.K.’s Combat Air capability and will dramatically increase our ability to defend national sovereignty interests and ensure security around the globe.”
About F-35 Lightning II
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.
Contribution to industry
Collectively, some 500+ UK companies are involved in the F-35 Lightning II programme, building 15 per cent of each F-35 produced. Over the next 40 years, UK industry will continue to play a vital role in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the country and generating tens of thousands of jobs.
We bring military aircraft expertise that is key to the development and manufacture of the F-35 Lightning II. Along with being responsible for the design and delivery of the aft fuselage and empennage for each of the three F-35 variants, BAE Systems also plays a key role in other areas including vehicle and mission systems, life support system and prognostics health management integration.