The first US Navy variant of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35C Lightning II carrier has successfully completed its maiden flight at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

The US Naval air forces commander Vice Admiral Thomas J Kilcline said the mission systems of the aircraft would provide the carrier strike group commander with the ability to fight against a wide range of threats.

“The F-35C will provide naval aviators with a fifth-generation fighter with the most advanced technology possible to perform our nation’s missions,” he said.

“Developmental flight tests for the aircraft will be carried out at Patuxent River later this summer.”

The F-35C is a long-range, stealthy, carrier-based aircraft that can withstand harsh carrier conditions with minimal maintenance while providing safe and precise payload handling capabilities during at-sea operations.

The fighter combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and lower operational and maintenance costs.

Lockheed is developing the F-35 in cooperation with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.