The F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, made its first flight two days ago, taking off from the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, and logging a 57 minute flight.

The aircraft is the most advanced ever in the history of the U.S. Navy.  It’s a stealthy, long range, carrier based, fighter jet.  It’s larger wingspan and control surfaces provide improved stability for carrier operations. The Navy says the F-35C is able to approach carriers at slower speeds, and has great over-the-nose visibility. The stealthy surface is designed to handle the harsh conditions found on a carrier deck, with maintenance kept to a minimum.

Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, Commander of Naval Air Forces, said, “The mission systems in this aircraft will provide the Carrier Strike Group Commander with an unprecedented ability to counter a broad spectrum of threats and win in operational scenarios that our legacy aircraft cannot address.”

“Today’s flight marks the beginning of the true introduction of a next-generation weapon system capable of providing joint, coalition striking power on Day One, from both land and sea bases” said Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration, Tom Burbage.

Ongoing developmental flight testing of the F-35C will continue at  NAS Pax River.