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US' F-35 fighter jet makes first test flight with external missiles

Washington , Tue, 21 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb 21 (ANI): The United State's most sophisticated fighter jet the F-35, which is currently under development, has begun its first flight tests with external missiles.


The US military's next-generation fighter jet, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, begun flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert.


The stealthy, supersonic fighter, known as the Joint Strike Fighter has been undergoing tests since its first flight in late 2006.


The F-35 will be used jointly by the Navy, Marines and Air Force, The Los Angeles Times reports.


According to the report, three versions of the F-35 are being built, one that can operate off aircraft carriers, one capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, and a conventional fighter jet.


All three F-35 variants will be built on the same production line at Lockheed's plant in Fort Worth, Texas.


Currently, the F-35 order is the Pentagon's costliest program going, and the Defense Department has planned to buy 2,443 of the aircraft at a cost of 382 billion dollars.


Lockheed said that on February 16, an F-35 took off carrying two air-to-air missiles off its wing.


In addition, the F-35 carried two internal 2,000-pound bunker-busting bombs and two advanced medium range air-to-air missiles inside the two internal weapon bays. (ANI)


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