JSF fleet tops 100,000 flight hours

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The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft fleet recently exceeded 100,000 flight hours while the F-35 Integrated Test Force teams are completing the remaining requirements in the program’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.

CAPTIONAn inverted F-35C, piloted by Major Eric Northam, launches an AIM-9X missile during a live-fire test at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on 8 June. Lockheed Martin photo by Dane Wiedmann.

Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-35 Program General Manager Jeff Babione said this 100K milestone marked a significant level of maturity for the program and the F-35 weapons system.

“We are well positioned to complete air vehicle full 3F and mission systems software development by the end of 2017,” Mr Babione said.

“The remaining development flight testing includes validating the final release of 3F software, F-35B ski jump testing, F-35B austere site operations, high-Mach-loads testing for both the F-35B and F-35C and completion of the remaining weapons-delivery accuracy tests.

Major SDD fleet test milestones in recent months include:

Completed testing for the F-35A’s final envelope involving high risk ‘edge of the envelope’ manoeuvres, stressing the aircraft to its limits in structural strength, vehicle systems performance, and aerodynamics while proving excellent handling qualities.

Completed all UK weapon-delivery accuracy tests for the AIM-132 ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons, and completed 45 of 50 SDD weapon-delivery accuracy tests including multiple target and multiple shot engagements as well as internal gun and centerline external pod 25mm gun accuracy tests.

Performed multi-ship mission effectiveness tests, such as offensive counter-air and maritime interdiction.

Three distinct variants of the F-35 Lightning II will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the US Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for 11 other countries, to date.

Following the US Marine Corps’ July 2015 combat-ready Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration, the US Air Force attained service IOC in August 2016 and the US Navy will IOC in 2019.

For additional information about the F-35 program, visit www.f35.com

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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