The F-35 is being developed by an international contractor-government partnership consisting of the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. The F-35 could be available as early as 2014 through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program for countries not currently participating in the multinational development effort. The first F-35 moved out of the Fort Worth factory Feb. 19. Towed by a tractor, the jet was rolled to a nearby fueling facility where its fuel system will be checked out. Structural coupling and ground-vibration testing will follow. Engine runs will begin in late spring and will lead into taxi tests along the Fort Worth runway in advance of the first flight. “Our team’s engineers, mechanics and assemblers deserve high praise for the precise way in which this airplane came together with very few issues,” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and JSF program general manager. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The first F-35 joint strike fighter moves out of the Lockheed Martin factory in Forth Worth, Texas, on Feb. 19. It should take flight in fall.First F-35 completedInaugural flight for fighter set for fallDaily News Lockheed Martin announced it completed assembly of the first F-35 joint strike fighter at its Fort Worth, Texas, factory and will begin ground tests in preparation for the first flight in fall. The plane is expected to make about six flights in Fort Worth, then will fly out to Edwards Air Force Base for testing. “Probably it will go out there late this year or early next year,” Lockheed Martin F-35 program spokesman John Kent said. Lockheed Martin and its partners are building 15 flight test aircraft, as well as seven airframes for structural tests and a full-size model for radar tests of the jet’s stealthiness, under a $25.7 billion development contract awarded in 2001. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The company hopes to be awarded a further contract for low-rate production next year. The first jet and five flight-test aircraft built in the conventional takeoff-and-landing versions will come to Edwards. The other nine flight-test aircraft will be carrier and short-takeoff versions that will be tested by the Navy and the Marine Corps in Maryland. While the F-35 jets are being assembled in Texas, parts for them are manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Palmdale and Northrop Grumman assembles the center fuselage at its own Palmdale plant. Several hundred people work on the jet in Palmdale. Up to 1,100 people are expected to work on Edwards test forces. The jet will be built in a conventional version for the Air Force, as well as in a version equipped to land on Navy carriers and one for the Marine Corps that will take off on shortened runways and land vertically. The F-35 is intended to replace a number of fighter jets and attack aircraft, including the Air Force’s A-10s and F-16s, the Navy’s F/A-18s, the Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harriers, and the United Kingdom’s Harrier aircraft.