STOVL F-35 Goes Supersonic

Lockheed Martin announced Monday that the F-35B, the short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the F-35 strike fighter, reached supersonic speeds for the first time during a June 10 test flight at NAS Patuxent River, Md. Test aircraft BF-2 accelerated to Mach 1.07 during this flight, according to the company. “For the first time in military aviation history, supersonic, radar-evading stealth comes with short takeoff/vertical landing capability,” said Bob Price, company program manager for the F-35B. It was BF-2’s 30th flight. Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Matt Kelly was at the controls. Lockheed says testing will gradually expand the flight envelope out to the aircraft’s top speed of Mach 1.6. The Air Force’s F-35A variant has also attained supersonic speeds in flight tests.