15:40 GMT08 March 2021
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    F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter underwent tests the launch of tests at an isolated military base in the state of Idaho, according to the US Air Force.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Efforts to develop the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter took another step forward on Friday, with the launch of tests at an isolated military base in the state of Idaho, the US Air Force announced in a press release.

    "Until now, the aircraft and crew have always had a hand to reach for in case things go awry," the release said. "At Mountain Home AFB [Air Force Base] however, there is no existing F-35 support. Any issues the teams may run into have to be resolved without the help they're used to."

    The Air Force explained that the level of seclusion allows the team to determine whether the aircraft's new systems, such as the Autonomic Logistics Information System, can function properly in a new environment.

    Earlier tests of the F-35 jet have taken place at bases throughout the United States.

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive military aircraft ever, with the final price tag of about $400 billion or double original estimates of its cost.

    During nearly 15 years of development, the program has suffered multiple setbacks from software glitches and hardware difficulties. The aircraft’s fuel and hydraulic systems have malfunctioned, and test pilots have complained of poor visibility from the cockpit and faulty radar.

    The entire F-35 fleet was grounded in 2014 after an engine caught fire as a pilot prepared to take off.


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