The first F-35 destined to the ROKAF (Republic Of Korea Air Force) has successfully completed its first flight.
On Mar. 19, 2018, the first F-35A destined to the ROKAF performed its maiden flight at Lockheed Martin Ft. Worth facility, Texas. Piloted by LM F-35 Chief Test Pilot and Test Flight Director Alan Norman, the aircraft flew as “Lightning 41”, taking off at 14.48LT and landing at 16.40LT. The photo in this post was taken by Highbrass Photography’s Clinton White during South Korea’s F-35’s first sortie (designated C01).
Known as AW-1, the aircraft is the first South Korean 5th generation combat aircraft out of 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets that the ROKAF has ordered with all aircraft slated for delivery by 2021.
The Republic of Korea concluded its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on Sept. 30, 2014. In December 2017, South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration established a process for procuring the 20 additional aircraft, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources.
Make sure to visit Clinton White’s Flickr photostream for more cool shots (including many F-35s)! H/T to Emiliano Guerra for the heads up.