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Take a look at these fantastic air-to-air photographs of the F-35 during its first transatlantic crossing

Cool photographs of a historic achievement. On Feb. 5, the an F-35A landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Mariland, marking the successful ending of JSF’s first ever transatlantic flight. It was pretty much an Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) achievement: the aircraft was the ItAF’s first F-35, the first JSF built outside the U.S., piloted by one of the two ItAF test pilots, belonging to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Test Wing) from Pratica di Mare, who successfully completed the… ( More...

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jim monaco 4
I was a boom operator on a kc 135. The reason it refueled so many times is so it always has enough fuel to reach an airfield in case of emergency no matter what the position is over the ocean. It is not a reflection of the distance it can travel without refueling.
Greg Zelna 2
With a single engine, we'd hope that emergency did not involve the engine or it becomes one big, expensive lawn dart....
As the Italians seem to be able to get F-35s built perhaps Blair should have given them the cash instead of to his buddy Bush!
ChicagoBrain 3
Look at that ladder in the last picture. Can you make it any more complicated? No wonder that thing is so expensive.
Tom Langer 3
Yes, that is a $1M ladder
Phil Scarr 3
Too bad it's such an incredible piece of shit...
(F-35) "Jack of all trades. Master of none"
ron paliughi 1
Really nice pictures and I admire the Italians for the first Atlantic crossing in the single engine F-35 ( followed by an all multi engine fighter escort). Anyone who has carefully followed the F-35 from inception and is honest with themselves, realizes this aircraft is truly a debacle. A repeat of Robert McNaara's atempt at a universal aircraft for all services- the F-111- only worse. At least ithe F-111 which failed at carrier trials didn't try to also be a VSTOL with a big fat mechanical fan that makes the fuselage thick and a big drag on the F-35A. (AF) and F-35C ( Navy). The F-35 has been in testing for fourteen years and is still not truly operational. It is overly complicated and wildly expensive. Its millions of lines of code are vulnerable to hacking. Its combat load is tiny unless it mounts underwing stores which defeats the stealth capability. It is G limited because te engine will flex causing a catastrophic failure. It can't dogfight and was defeated by a two seat F-16D with two drop tanks. Test pilots have all complained about it being blind to the rear. Protective armor for the fuel system has been removed to reduce weight. Its gun has only around 180 rounds, maybe two bursts. And yes its single huge engine is a big step back for the Navy from its twin engine fighters. Finally the costs of keeping this aircraft in the air maintenance wise will be astronomical even when its ALIS automated system is online- it currently does not work and may never will.

If all the above isn't bad enough we are approaching an additional buy of 400 more aircraft to add to the 125 now flying none of which are truly combat capable ( the Marines say theirs are but no one really believes this). All the aircraft will have to be sent back through major modifications to be combat capable since they were purchased by the military under the concept of " concurrency" - production concurrent with operational testing. This will cost additional billions. In a word the US has a fleet of the most expensive aircraft ever built flying around with no combat capability for years to come. A debacle.
James T 1
It needed to refuel 7 times to cross the Atlantic, that's a distance of 4400 miles...
Highflyer1950 1
Probably just over 1700 nm coast to coast with BIKF or Narsaruaq as alternates, so refueled about every 250 miles or so to maintain best range. Just a guess, however.
Peter Craddy 1
The report said it was refuelled 7 times, not that it needed to be refuelled 7 times. Maybe they used some of them as an exercise. The weather was also reported the refuelings to be in bad weather so maybe they just kept it topped up...
Toby Sharp 1
super cool.


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