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.
“This 100K milestone marks 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, said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-35 Program General Manager Jeff Babione.
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.
- Completed testing for the F-35A’s final envelope involving high risk ‘edge of the envelope’ maneuvers, stressing the aircraft to its limits in structural strength, vehicle systems performance, and aerodynamics while proving excellent handling qualities.
- Completed all U.K. 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, demonstrating the performance of the F-35 System.
Three distinct variants of the F-35 Lightning II will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for 11 other countries, to date. Following the U.S. Marine Corps' July 2015 combat-ready Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration, the U.S. Air Force attained service IOC in Aug. 2016 and the U.S. Navy will IOC in 2019.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
Photo: An inverted F-35C launches AIM-9X missile during a live fire test event, piloted by Major Eric Northam June 8 from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.