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US Navy's version of F-35 jet 'ready for combat'
[WASHINGTON] The US Navy's version of the F-35 stealth fighter jet is "ready for combat," officials said Thursday, marking another milestone in the development of the most expensive weapons programme ever.
"The F-35C is ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win," Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller, who commands Naval Air Forces, said in a statement.
"We are adding an incredible weapon system into the arsenal of our Carrier Strike Groups that significantly enhances the capability of the joint force."
The F-35 "C" variant has been developed for the Navy and is capable of taking off and landing from an aircraft carrier.
Its wingtips can fold up to create more room on the huge ships.
In August 2017, the Air Force announced initial operational capability for their version, the F-35A.
The F-35B, used by the Marine Corps, is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings, and flew its first combat missions last year over Afghanistan.
Launched in the early 1990s, the F-35 programme is considered the most expensive weapons system in US history, with an estimated cost of some US$400 billion and a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.