FORT WORTH, Texas (Dec. 15) – The new stealth fighter jet that will replace an aging fleet of military planes experienced a minor glitch during an otherwise successful first flight Friday, Lockheed Martin Corp. officials said.
Jon S. Beesley, chief test pilot for the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the F-35, said the plane handled “marvelously,” performed flawlessly and flew better than the simulator.
He flew to 15,000 feet, escorted by three jets that provided safety and took pictures. “It was a great adventure,” he said. “Today really started the opening for me for the rest of this greatest fighter program in history where we’re going to go forward and develop this great weapons system that will protect everybody, and that’s what it’s all about.”
…..After 10 years of development, Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin is moving to the early stages of production for what could be thousands of fighter jets for the American military and eight countries – and possibly the largest defense contract ever, $275 billion over the next two decades.
The U.S. plans to use the F-35 to replace aging planes used by the Marines, Air Force and Navy, including jets like the F-16, the F-18 and the Harrier jet.
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