F-35 Lightning II News

Secretary of the Navy checks out F-35‏

December 21, 2009 (by Bjørnar Bolsøy) - U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus visited Lockheed Martin's Forth Worth facilities last week.

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The Honorable Ray Mabus Secretary of the Navy Visit to Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, TX. [Photo by Neal Chapman]

The December 18 visit included a first hand look at the F-35Bs cockpit and inspecting three F-35C carrier variants in final assembly among the more than 30 F-35s currently being built at the plant.

Secretary Mabus also received a F-35 program update and close up view of the F-35 BF-2, the second short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) test aircraft, as it conducted its 15th flight in final preparation for its ferry flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Patuxent River is the primary flight test site for all F-35 STOVL and carrier variant aircraft and BF-2 will join the first test aircraft - BF-1 - already at Patuxent River, for the short takeoff and vertical landing tests.

The Pentagon wants to buy 680 radar evading F-35s for both the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy. The F-35B STOVL is the Marine Corps version while the Navy will fly the F-35C Carrier Variant (CV).