Additionally, the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant logged 6 times more vertical landings in the first quarter than in all of 2010. The test program remained ahead of plan despite the grounding of various test fleet aircraft for 4-15 days during the period as officials investigated the cause of a dual generator/starter failure during a flight on March 9.
The following totals and highlights provide a snapshot of flight test activity in the first quarter:
- Conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL: F-35A) aircraft conducted 82 flights against the plan of 62.
- STOVL (F-35B) aircraft conducted 101 flights against a plan of 62.
- Carrier variant aircraft accomplished 16 flights of 18 planned.
- Two production-model aircraft, AF-6 and AF-7, flew for the first time in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Air Force this year. AF-6 and AF-7 flew seven times in the first quarter.
- The STOVL variant performed 61 vertical landings (compared with 10 vertical landings in all of 2010). BF-1 performed the first touch-and-go maneuver in VL mode this quarter.
- From the start of flight testing in December 2006 through March 31, 2011, F-35s have flown 753 times, including production-model flights.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
For more information, check Al-Defaiya Issue # 2/2011