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DSTO F-35 Iron Bird commissioned

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 4, 2014
The full-scale F-35A 'Iron Bird' model at DSTO. (Defence)
The full-scale F-35A ‘Iron Bird’ model at DSTO. (Defence)

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) has commissioned a full-scale F-35A ‘Iron Bird’ replica designed to test the effects of electromagnetic compatibility and interference on the aircraft.

The model was officially commissioned by Defence Minister Senator David Johnston at DSTO’s facilities at Edinburgh in SA, and will be tested under simulated electromagnetic conditions during the acquisition and through-life sustainment of the F-35.

“The United States Joint Strike Fighter Program Office asked the DSTO to undertake this research, based on its world class expertise in investigating electromagnetic environmental effects,” Senator Johnston said in a statement. “The impact of these interferences needs to be well understood and appropriately managed. The data captured during DSTO testing will help in providing potential reductions in the cost of owning the JSF fleet and enhancing the aircraft’s capability.”

The DSTO test methods are designed to provide a cost-effective means of assessing and monitoring the F-35’s ability to withstand electromagnetic exposure and minimise any impact on its systems and performance, and will play a key part in supporting the compliance and airworthiness certification for the aircraft.

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Comments (3)

  • Raymond


    I understand from the story that the JSF Program Office has asked the DSTO to undertake this research, but could it be clarified whether this research will be relied upon by the US for their own fleet of F-35’s or is it complementing work already done or being done in the US?

    • australianaviation.com.au


      Raymond – it’s validation work for the modelling done by JPO/LM already, so it applies to the whole program.

      Even though the Iron Bird was only commissioned last week, some of the work has already been done by DSTO.



  • Raymond


    Thanks Andrew, the DSTO must be held in high regard. It intrigues me a little how the US entrusts work such as this to other countries when one would think the US would have more than sufficient expertise to undertake it themselves…

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