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BAE SYSTEMS PILOT TAKES WORLD LATEST FIGHTER AIRBORNE FOR THE FIRST TIME

12 Jun 2008 | Ref. 179/2008

Fort Worth, Texas – With BAE Systems test pilot Graham Tomlinson at the controls, the first short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lightning II has taken to the skies above Fort Worth, Texas, for the first time.

The former Royal Air Force Harrier pilot, now employed by F-35 programme partner BAE Systems at its military aircraft business in Lancashire North West England, flew this latest member of the F-35 family, from Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth facility. The F-35 Lightning II is the world’s biggest ever fighter aircraft programme.

As planned, initial F-35 STOVL flights will be conventional, with transitions to short take off, hovers and vertical landings commencing during the aircraft’s flight test programme.

Speaking after the flight Graham said: “A great team effort led to a relaxed first flight, with the aircraft handling and performing as predicted following earlier flights by the conventional variant of F-35 and many hours of simulator testing.”

Mick Ord, BAE Systems’ F-35 Lightning II Managing Director added: “The STOVL variant of the
F-35 Lightning II is one of the most complex aircraft ever built. BAE Systems, with its long STOVL experience from development and manufacture of the Harrier fighter, is a key partner in this cutting edge technology programme.”

Three versions of the F-35 Lightning II are planned: a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL), a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) and a carrier variant (CV). Each is derived from a common design, and will ensure that the F-35 meets the performance and affordability needs of the US Air Force, US Marine Corps, US Navy, the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and export customers.

BAE Systems’ involvement in the F-35 Lightning II involves businesses based on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to design, development and manufacturing activities in the United Kingdom,the Company’s American businesses deliver key capabilities including electronic warfare, advanced low observable apertures, advanced countermeasure systems, the platform management computer and active inceptor systems, among others.

The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), will be the world’s first and only stealthy, supersonic, multi-role fighter. The F-35 is being developed to replace the US AV-8B Harrier, A-10, F-16 and the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, and for the UK’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to replace the Harrier GR9.

 

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 97,500 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15.7 billion (US $31.4 billion) in 2007.

For more information, please contact
Dean Tasker, BAE Systems
Tel: +44- (0)1772 855558 Mob: +44 (0)7793 420 019
dean.tasker@baesystems.com

Marc Boulton, BAE Systems
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 852052 Mob: +44 (0) 7801 716 011
marc.boulton@baesystems.com

Issued by:
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739



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