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F-35 flight test program on track despite grounding

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 22, 2011

JSF development aircraft F-35A AF-6 over Edwards AFB.

Lockheed Martin says the F-35 flight test fleet remained eight per cent ahead of planned flights for the year to date at the end of August, despite the aircraft’s recent grounding due to the failure of an Integrated Power Pack (IPP) on test aircraft AF-4.

F-35s have completed 642 test flights for the year to date, including 124 test flights since Lockheed Martin’s last progress report issued on July 26.

“Overall, the F-35 system development and demonstration (SDD) flight test remains on or ahead of plan for 2011, despite 15 days of testing lost due to fleet stand-down after a ground mishap involving the Integrated Power Package (IPP),” the company said in a September 20 statement. “Flight testing was also interrupted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, because of an August 23 earthquake and severe weather associated with Hurricane Irene. During this period of down time, the flight test teams at all locations continued working through planned modifications and maintenance.”

Recently flight test milestones have included: F-35B BF-1 performing a 40ft hover in calm winds and two vertical landings for the 150th vertical landing to date on August 31; the deliveries of AF-10 and AF-11 to Eglin AFB, joining AF-8 and AF-9 assigned to the 33d Fighter Wing; completion of static testing, with completion of testing on F-35C ground article CG-1 at Fort Worth on August 29; completion of jet blast deflector testing by F-35C CF-2 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst between June 25 and August 13 and; AF-7’s final conventional take off and landing maturity flight on August 31.

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