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F-35B begins STOVL tests


The F-35B test aircraft BF-01 has engaged its STOVL propulsion system in flight for the first time.

January 7: Lockheed Martin’s F-35B Lightning II short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) test aircraft BF-01 engaged its STOVL propulsion system in flight for the first time, said the company in a press releases.

F-35 lead STOVL pilot Graham Tomlinson from BAE Systems undertook the flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, USA. During the flight, the shaft-driven ‘LiftFan®’ propulsion system was engaged for 14 minutes between 180-210 knots before converting back to conventional-flight mode.

Further STOVL test flights will see the aircraft fly progressively slower before hovering and ultimately landing vertically. BF-01 is powered by the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine driving the Rolls-Royce LiftFan® system, which produces 41,000 pounds of vertical thrust.

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