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1st F-35 night flight

The first night flight in the history of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Program was completed Wednesday at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Mark Ward, AF-6, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, launched at 5:05 p.m. PST and landed after sunset at 6:22 p.m. The mission consisted of a series of straight in approaches in twilight and darkness. The pilot also performed an evaluation of the F-35’s cockpit lighting which Ward called, “the best he’s ever seen.” The testing will clear the way for night refueling and formation testing later this year.

f35 night flight

f-35 night flight

The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. JSF development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom and other partner governments providing additional funding. The partner nations are either NATO members or close U.S. allies. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. After a variety of tests, this night flight brings the F-35 project nearer to conclusion.


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