Lockheed Martin F35 Test Flight Progress
Lockheed Martin Press Release 10 July 2012
The F-35 program accrued the highest number of test points in single month during June, an accomplishment indicative of the program’s ongoing maturation. Additionally, for the 18th consecutive month the F-35 test program remained ahead of plan.
As of June 30, the F-35 Lightning II 5th Generation multirole fighter had conducted 595 test flights in 2012 versus a plan of 445 and accrued 4,830 test points against a plan of 3,901.
In June, the F-35 program accomplished several flight test and production milestones:
During June, the F-35 test program accrued the most test points in a single month, 1,118, in program history.
On June 5, BF-5 became the first F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) jet to fly with Block 2A software.
On June 13, the first F-35C carrier variant (CV) night flight was completed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
On June 13, F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) weapons pit drop testing was conducted for the first time at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
On June 14 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., BF-2 completed the first test flight for the F-35B STOVL variant with an asymmetric weapons load.
On June 25, AF-1, an F-35A CTOL test jet, accomplished the first F-35 weapon pit drop from an external station, a GBU-12 from station 2.
On June 27, the program achieved the highest number of F-35 flights in a single day, 12.
Cumulative flight test activity totals for 2012 through June 30 are provided below:
F-35A CTOL jets have flown 260 times.F-35B STOVL jets have completed 202 flights, 134 of which began with a short takeoff. Additionally, F-35B STOVL aircraft have conducted 55 vertical landings.F-35C CV jets have flown 133 times.
Cumulative flight test activity totals for the duration of the program through May 31 are provided below:
F-35A CTOL jets have flown 907 times.F-35B STOVL jets have completed 791 flights, 553 of which began with a short takeoff. Additionally, F-35B STOVL aircraft have conducted 334 vertical landings.F-35C CV jets have flown 325 times.
Since December 2006, F-35s have flown 2,355 times and accrued more than 3,700 cumulative flight hours. This total includes 91 flights from the original test aircraft, AA-1; 2,023 SDD test flights; and 241 production-model flights. For video highlights of the F-35 program, click here.
With the delivery of four Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] F-35 Lightning II aircraft since June 29, an important milestone was achieved as the Department of Defense now possesses more operational-coded F-35s than test aircraft. A total of nine F-35s have been delivered for the year, giving the DOD a total of 30 aircraft fleet-wide. Of these, 16 are operational aircraft and 14 are test planes.
“To date, the F-35 program has focused on system development and flight testing while most recently transitioning to low rate initial production,” said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager, F-35 program. “We’ve crossed a critical threshold as we begin delivering our LRIP 3 aircraft. We’re increasingly becoming more operationally focused. These deliveries illustrate the program’s natural progression and maturation that is taking place on a daily basis.”
The four aircraft, which were formally accepted by the Defense Contract Management Agency with the signing of Department of Defense Form 250 (DD-250), are the first jets manufactured as part of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 3. They will begin ferrying to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in the coming days, bringing the total there to 16. The DOD has eight test aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and six test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Three of the jets are F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants and will be assigned to the U.S. Air Force’s 33d Fighter Wing. One F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft will be assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501. Once at Eglin, the 5th Generation fighters will be used for pilot and maintainer training at the base’s F-35 Integrated Training Center.