WASHINGTON (AP) — The stealthy F-35 fighter jet has conducted a combat airstrike for the first time, culminating years of development and anticipation for the aircraft’s move to the battlefield.
A Marine F-35B Lightening took off from the USS Essex amphibious assault ship and launched an airstrike Thursday against Taliban targets in Afghanistan. The aircraft is assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
There are multiple versions of the F-35 for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The supersonic Marine version can take off over a short distance and land vertically, like a helicopter.
The F-35 is built in Lockheed’s Fort Worth plant.