The F-35B Lightning II rolled off the production line 18 December in Fort Worth, Texas, to the fanfare of customers from the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy. The rollout marked the formal handing over of the first short-takeoff vertical landing, or STOVL, variant of the F-35 from production to flight testing.
"The flexibility the STOVL variant of the F-35 will add to the contemporary Marine Air Ground Task Force is amazing," said US Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway. "This generational leap in technology will enable the Marines to operate a fleet of fighter/attack aircraft from existing runways, from unimproved surfaces at austere bases, or from the decks of ships. We find that capability extremely valuable." The Marines will be the primary operator of the F-35B. [READ MORE]