F-35 realizes 3 major flight test milestones

30 May 2014

In three separate flight tests on May 27th, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) F-35 Lightning II aircraft demonstrated air-to-air combat capability, completed the first flight test with the next level software load and accomplished a landing at the maximum test speed and drop rate.

In the Point Mugu Sea Test Range airspace off the Central California coast, an F-35B demonstrated the jet´s air-to-air combat capability when it sequentially engaged two aerial targets with two AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) during a Weapon Delivery Accuracy mission.

Test pilot Lt. Col. Andrew Allen tracked two maneuvering drone targets, making the very first dual AMRAAM shot from any F-35 variant, and the first live AMRAAM shot from the F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant.

The F-35´s internally-carried AIM-120 AMRAAMs are a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations and considered a “fire-and-forget” missile using active target radar guidance.

The F-35C, designed for aircraft carrier operations, completed a landing at its maximum sink speed to test the aircraft´s landing gear, airframe and arrestment system at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

“Five sorties were conducted, building up the maximum sink rate test condition of 21.4 feet per second, which represents the maximum sink speed planned for this test,” McFarlan said. During the tests, the F-35C did three arrestments, several touch and goes and one bolter. The landings were to demonstrate structural readiness for arrested landings on an aircraft carrier at sea.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Its website is at http://www.lockheedmartin.com.

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