U.S. approves F-35 flights to UK for two air shows in July -sources

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department has approved the first trans-Atlantic flight of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet in July to take part in two international air shows near London, senior defense officials said Wednesday.

The new warplane will make its international debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo, or RIAT, an annual military air show help outside London in July, followed by appearances at the Farborough air show, held every other year, said the sources.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Doina Chiacu)