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Air Force F-35 completes first test flight 
Around The Guard 
F-35 Lightning II 
This Air Force version of the F-35 Lightning II completed a test flight from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, April 20, 2010. The F-35 is the first aircraft to be developed to meet the needs of three services -- the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps -- and U.S. allies, with variants being developed simultaneously by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. (Courtesy photo)
By Spc. Thao Pha and Spc. Stacey Mosher, Minnesota National Guard 

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force version of the F-35A flew for an hour April 20 from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, becoming the seventh F-35 Lightning II to fly.

AF-2, the conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, is the Air Force's version of the Joint Strike Fighter. This fifth-generation fighter is the first one to carry an internal GAU-22/A 25-millimeter Gatling gun weapon system.

"The first flight of AF-2 is a significant achievement for the F-35 program, the U.S. Air Force and our international partners who will operate the F-35A," said James "Sandy" Sandstrom, Lockheed Martin's F-35 U.S. Air Force program manager. "This aircraft is configured to test and verify the multiple weapons loads that will deliver fifth generation combat capability to the warfighter.

4/22/2010