Lockheed: F-35 met 2010 flight test targets

Lockheed says the overall F-35 program reached its 2010 goal of 394 test flights, although some variants fell short of their targets for the year.

Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Md., USA) reported on Dec. 15 that the composites-intensive F-35 Lightning II program team reached its 2010 goal of 394 test flights jointly established by the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office and Lockheed Martin. Since the first flight of the F-35 on Dec. 15, 2006, the program has logged a total of 531 flights, expanding the performance envelope of the three F-35 variants and testing the mission systems.

"We exceeded our 394-flight goal and expect to meet our overall test-point goal this year by reaching ahead and working 2011 test points," said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin vice president of F-35 Test and Verification. "While we are still behind on our overall STOVL variant testing, we are working through a plan to get us back on track."

In November, the program completed 60 flights against a plan of 51. Both the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) and the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variants exceeded their monthly flight targets. The F-35C carrier variant (CV) jet fell just two flights short of its plan.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.