Lockheed Martin has announced the completion of static structural testing for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, one of five key milestones for the program for 2011 set by the Joint Program Office (JPO).
Engineering teams from Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and the JPO conducted structural tests over the past two years, during which a system of pads, hydraulic actuators and air pressurisation mechanisms and reaction channels were used to apply external loads to test articles to simulate the aircraft’s full flight envelope.
Engineers tested the F-35 airframe to 115 per cent of requirements, with no deformation observed. Loads were then increased to 150 per cent of requirements in the final phase of structural testing, again without rupturing or structural failure.
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