The US Air Force Base in Utah has successfully completed an F-35B Lightning II functional check flight following completion of the first depot-level short take off and vertical landing modifications on two F-35Bs.
In February, the US Marine Corps (USMC) sent two F-35Bs to the Ogden Air Logistics Complex for depot-level modifications.
Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander brigadier general Carl Buhler said: "The work accomplished by the men and women of the 570th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron has been nothing short of amazing.
"They removed sections of the aircraft that many thought would never be removed, and they strengthened wing ribs and worked in areas that required rare micro tolerances."
The 570th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron was responsible for this development The modifications necessary for the F-35B's initial operational capability were completed over a four month period.
Buhler added: "In the process, the maintainers developed techniques that will be used as benchmarks in a variety of depot operations in the future.
"The accomplishments of the members of the squadron, in concert with our Lockheed Martin teammates, with the support of the 75th Air Base Wing, have been remarkable."
Work on the second F-35B is scheduled to be completed in the coming days.
In May, the USMC completed night operations with the F-35B Lightning II aboard USS Wasp, as part of operational testing 1 (OT-1).
The first phase of OT will see the evaluation and assessment of the integration of the F-35B into Marine Corps aviation, while operating across different flight, maintenance and logistical operations.
Image: A Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II completes its first short takeoff and vertical landing check flight. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Alex R Lloyd.