The F-35 flight test program registered new achievements since the last update issued by prime contractor Lockheed Martin [LMT], the company said recently.

According to a Lockheed Martin statement, the F-35 Lightning II Generation program remains ahead of schedule for test flights, having accomplished 518 flights versus a planned 476 as of July 25. In addition, four F-35s completed their first flights. Since the start of flight testing in December 2006 through July 25, 2011, F-35s flew 1,065 times, including the production-model flights and AA-1, the original flight test aircraft.

There were also a number of deliveries made to various bases, including the first production F-35 delivered to Eglin AFB, Fla., and the fifth Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short take off/vertical landing (STOVL) flight test aircraft to the Marine Corps at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md.

The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its main industrial partners, Northrop Grumman [NOC] and BAE Systems.