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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

F-35 Flight Test Progress Reported

Lockheed Martin reported “considerable flight test progress” of the F-35 Lightning II during the first quarter, with the program conducting 199 test flights versus a plan of 142 flights.

The test program remained ahead of plan despite the grounding of some test fleet aircraft for four to 15 days as officials investigated the cause of a dual generator/starter failure that occurred during a flight March 9.

Each of the three F-35 variants – conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL), carrier and short takeoff/vertical landing (VTOL) – exceeded planned test flights. The STOVL variant performed 61 vertical landings compared with 10 vertical landings during 2010.

Two production-model aircraft, AF-6 and AF-7, flew for the first time in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Air Force this year.

From the start of flight testing in December 2006 through March 31 F-35s had flown 753 times, including production-model flights, Lockheed Martin said April 4.
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