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The first flight of a new version of the F-35 fighter jet

The first flight of a new version of the F-35 fighter jet

The United States Air Force has announced that the new Lockheed Martin F-35 jet took to the skies for its first flight.

According to an Air Force release, a developmental test team from the 461st Flight Test Squadron flew an F-35 in the Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) configuration for the first time at Edwards Air Force Base.

The 50-minute flight, which took the jet to 35,000 feet at speeds just shy of the speed of sound above the Mojave Desert, signalled the beginning of a lengthy flight testing campaign.

READ MORE: Agreement between Pentagon and Lockheed for 398 F-35 jets

TR-3 provides the computational horsepower required to support modernised Block 4 F-35 capabilities such as new sensor suites, longer-range precision weapons, improved electronic warfare features, more powerful data fusion.

These capabilities give the warfighter a tactical advantage in identifying, tracking, engaging, and surviving advanced air, ground, and cyber threats.

TR-3 significantly improves core processing power and memory capacity, allowing the F-35s to run advanced software with cutting-edge warfighting capabilities.

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