The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy’s first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:37 p.m. The aircraft, piloted by David “Doc” Nelson, departed NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 11:31 a.m. (Eastern) and achieved successful air refuels at a maximum load of 19,800 pounds during the flight. At Patuxent River, the F-35C will conduct air-to-air refueling and performance testing.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine stealth multirole fighters. When it enters service it will be one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, performing ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models; one is a conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is a short take off and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant.