Lockheed Martin’s F-35 System Development and Demonstration program accrued more than the required test flights and test points in 2011, the company has announced.
The 2011 flight testing plan called for the accumulation of 872 flights and 6622 test points. The SSD program flew 972 flights and tallied 7823 test points across all three variants of the jet. The F-35A model – the same as that to be procured by the RAAF – accomplished 474 flights and 3600 test points in 2011.
Testing highlights for 2011 included F-35B STOVL ship suitability testing aboard the USS Wasp, achievement of a maximum design speed of Mach 1.6, and aerial refuelling testing with KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has delivered the first two F-35B STOVL aircraft to the US Marine Corps. The two aircraft are now assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. BF-6 and BF-8 flew the 90 minute journey from the production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to Eglin on January 11, and will be used for pilot and maintainer training at the new F-35 Integrated Training Center there.
BF-6 and BF-8 are the first two F-35 deliveries in 2012 and the seventh and eighth F-35 aircraft delivered to Eglin AFB overall. The US Air Force has taken delivery of six F-35A CTOL variants since July 2011.
Below is a Lockheed Martin clip of the F-35Bs operating from the Wasp.