F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Formation Photos

A friend sent me these pictures last week of two Lockheed F-35s in formation flight:

Taken recently, as far as I know these are some of the first official photos of several F-35s in formation flight. These two aircraft are AF-1 and AF-2, the Air Force version of the F-35. AF-1 is the first to fly, and it looks like it has had the vertical stabilizers repainted with lightning bolts, obviously a reference to its nickname “Lightning II”. The other version flying is the U.S. Marines F-35B VSTOL version currently undergoing flight test at Patuxent River, Maryland. The Navy version, F-35C, which will have a larger wing, stronger landing gear and tailhook for carrier operations, has not flown yet.

The F-35 has been receiving a fair amount of attention recently because it is one of the most expensive DOD programs, and has been flagged for schedule delays and cost increases. So far there have not been any big technical issues.