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F-35A makes first night flight

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February 2, 2012

The F-35A variant of Lockheed Martin's F-35 has completed its first night flight (Photo: L...

The F-35A variant of Lockheed Martin's F-35 has completed its first night flight (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

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Despite criticism in the U.S. regarding escalating costs, which has seen the Pentagon's bill for a planned 2,443 F-35s going from US$233 billion to $385 billion, Lockheed Martin is pressing ahead with tests of the world's only fifth generation jet fighter. It's been over six years since the first F-35 took to the air for the first time and one and a half years since the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant broke the sound barrier for the first time. Now the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant has completed the first night flight in the history of the F-35 program.

The maiden night flight took place on Wednesday at Edwards Air Force Base in California with Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Mark Ward at the controls. Ward took off at 5:05 p.m. PST, took in the sunset which occurred at 5:23 p.m., before landing the aircraft at 6:22 p.m. During the flight, Ward performed a series of straight in approaches in twilight and darkness and performed an evaluation of the F-35's cockpit lighting - which he described as the best he's ever seen. Lockheed Martin says the maiden night flight paves the way for night refueling and formation testing later this year.

Video of the F-35A's first night flight appears below.

Source: Lockheed Martin

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
6 Comments

Now, for a sinister, e-vile enemy to vanquish with this super technology...

Enemies...hey, where'd you all go?

Dang, we'll have to create some more!

Jim Parker
3rd February, 2012 @ 09:17 am PST

"Lockheed Martin is pressing ahead with tests of the world's only fifth generation jet fighter." Really?...

What aboput the PAK FA and the F22?

Nacho Lotitto
3rd February, 2012 @ 09:33 am PST

The Pentagon couldn't care less about costs to taxpayers.

Eideard
3rd February, 2012 @ 10:50 am PST

The dollar shrinks, the price goes up, and those critics that want to destroy everything that made the USofA great complain.

................................................................................................................

re; Jim Parker

A lot of Russians still want an Empire.

China seems to want vengeance for being the plaything of empires.

.................................................................................................................

re; Eideard

It is not the military spending that is breaking the back of the taxpayers.

Slowburn
4th February, 2012 @ 02:08 am PST

re; Slowburn

China is THE empire. Period.

cachurro
4th February, 2012 @ 07:33 pm PST

re; cachurro

Not during the opium wars.

Slowburn
5th February, 2012 @ 07:22 pm PST
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