CF-2, the second F-35C test aircraft in the US Navy’s carrier-based configuration, has flown for the first time, announced prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Company F-35 test pilot Bill Gigliotti flew the aircraft on its maiden mission April 29 from NAS Fort Worth JRB, Tex. CF-2 is scheduled to fly to NAS Patuxent River, Md., later this year, where it will join CF-1, the first F-35C test aircraft, and four Marine Corps F-35B test aircraft in flight test activities. Air Force F-35A test aircraft are operating out of Edwards AFB, Calif. (Lockheed photo caption by Randy Crites)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.