The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter program was officially unveiled to the public on July 28 at the Lockheed Martin production facility in Fort Worth. Speakers at the rollout ceremony included Tom Burbage, BrigGen David Heinz, and ADM Gary Roughead, the executive vice president of the program, the program executive officer, and and chief of naval operations respectively. The plane that was rolled out is the first F-35C built to fly and will undergo extensive testing before taking its first flight in winter of this year. It will be designated CF-1 and will be a key test plane to precede full scale production of the JSF in 2015, much of which will take place in the Fort Worth complex. CF-1 will execute the first real-world carrier trials to hopefully confirm the JSFs viability as a naval fighter. The F-35C will be the largest Joint Strike Fighter variant incorporating the largest payload capability and the longest range. It will use the CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery) system to launch and land on US naval Nimitz Class carriers. It is a revolutionary system that for the first time will provide stealth 5th generation technology to the Navy.The launch of CF-1 will be a huge milestone in the epically large Joint Strike Fighter program to deliver some 3,100 planes to the US and its allies and to serve through 2040.
Video loop shown at the seremony featuring a CGI demo of the F-35C taking off from a carrier deck.