F 35 Fighter Makes Vertical Landing For First Time

03.19.10 | FL News Team

The most modern aircraft in the Pentagon inventory celebrated a milestone today. The F-35 fighter landed vertically for the first time. The radar-evading jet hovered for a minute then descended onto a less than 100-foot-square pad in Maryland. There are several versions of the F-35 being built. The Marine Corps is scheduled to begin fielding the jump-jet version in late 2012. A more conventional version is in early production for the Air Force. The Navy will get another model designed for landing on aircraft carriers.

 The F-35 has a rocky history, troubled by cost increases and delays. Affordability was supposed to be a major selling point for the jet but the average cost has soared 90-percent over what was projected in 2001, the year development began. The U.S. partnered with several other nations including the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Turkey in the design of the F-35. The jet is intended to be used worldwide as a strike and fighter aircraft, replacing the F-16, F/A-18 and A-10 fighters.