Lockheed said it flew its short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the F-35 faster than the speed of sound. The new variant is designed for deployment on smaller ships and from military bases near combat zones.
"For the first time in military aviation history, supersonic, radar-evading stealth comes with short takeoff/vertical landing capability," said Bob Price, Lockheed Martin's F-35 U.S. Marine Corps program manager.
A Marine pilot reached Mach 1.07 at 30,000 feet during a test flight over Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. Lockheed said the variant is designed for Mach 1.6 carrying a payload of weapons weighing more than 3,000 pounds.
The F-35 is a fifth generation fighter combining stealth technology with fighter speed and agility. Lockheed is developing the program with its parts at Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.