The first international Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II rolled out of the Lockheed Martin factory last week.
The UK Ministry of Defence will use the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet, known as BK-1, for training and operational tests.
BK-1 will undergo functional fuel system checks before being transported to the flight line for ground and flight tests in the coming months. The jet is scheduled to be delivered in 2012.
“This first F-35 for the first international program partner is symbolic of the proud partnership we share with the United Kingdom,” said F-35 executive vice president and general manager of Program Integration Tom Burbage.
“Working together in a spirit of collaboration, we are providing the men and women of the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy with unmatched 5th Generation capabilities, while delivering advanced technology sector jobs to the U.K.”
Group Captain Harv Smyth, the UK’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) national deputy stated, “This is a major milestone in the JSF Programme for UK, and we look forward to starting to operate the first British F-35s next year.
“JSF is ideally suited for UK’s future Combat Air capability needs, since it provides a world-class 5th Generation air system, which is capable of operating from both the land and our new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier.”
The UK will play a vital role in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment over the next 40 years, bringing strong economic benefits to the country—Defpro.com.