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Two F-35C Lightning II test aircraft complete in-flight dual refueling

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., 25 Jan. 2013. Two Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]  F-35C Lightning II carrier variant test aircraft refueled together with a Lockheed Martin KC-130 Hercules in the sky above Patuxent River, Md. recently. The CV aircraft, called CF-1 and CF-2, completed the milestone as part of an F-35 flight test program that aims to perform more than 1,000 flights in 2013. Later this year, Eglin AFB, Fla., will receive its first CV aircraft joining the F-35 pilot and maintainer training program there.

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The F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-engine, single-seat, fifth generation multirole fighter aircraft, designed to carry out ground attack, reconnaissance, air superiority, and stealth missions. There are three main models of the aircraft, the F-35A, a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B, a short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C, a carrier-based variant.

The F-35 aircraft are meant to replace the aging fleet of F-16, A-10, F/A-18 aircraft, sans the Super Hornet variants, and AV-8B fighter aircraft. The three different variants of F-35 aircraft share 80% of their parts.

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