[Photo] Navy’s first F-35C production model (in cool high-visibility markings) makes first flight

On Feb. 14, CF-6, first Lockheed Martin production model F-35C carrier variant, made its maiden flight from LM’s facility at Forth Worth, Texas.

Since it will delivered to the US Navy Fighter Attack Squadron 101 (VFA-101)  “Grim Reapers” at Eglin AFB, Florida, the F-35C CF-6 sported cool high-visibility color scheme and markings.

The Grim Repers were established in May 1952, flew various fighter jets, including the F-4 Phantom and F-14 Tomcat before being disbanded in 2005.

It was reestablished in May 2012, to support the U.S. Navy version of the CV (carrier variant) and serve as Fleet Replacement Squadron, training Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers as a subordinate unit of the joint 33 Fighter Wing.

The CF-6 will be the first carrier variant F-35 assigned to Eglin: 9 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jets and 13 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) jets are already based there.

F-35C VFA-101

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

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About David Cenciotti 3732 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.