F-35 Flies More than 100,000 hours as Development Continues

By Staff Writer | July 26, 2017
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LIBRARY IMAGE: The first flight for the U.K.’s first F-35, known as BK-1, took place on April 13, 2012. BK-1 is also the first international F-35. Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

The Lockheed Martin F-35 fleet has exceeded 100,000 flight hours, the manufacturer said.

"This 100K milestone marks a significant level of maturity for the program and the F-35 weapons system," said Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin EVP and F-35 program general manager. "We are well positioned to complete air vehicle full 3F and mission systems software development by the end of 2017."

F-35 Integrated Test Force teams are currently completing remaining requirements in the program’s system development and demonstration phase, the company said. Remaining development flight testing involves validating the final release of the 3F software, F-35B ski-jump testing, F-35B austere site operations, high-Mach loads testing for F-35B and F-35C, and completion of remaining weapons delivery accuracy tests.

The fleet also recently completed testing of F-35A's final envelope. This involved high-risk "edge of the envelope" maneuvers, stressing the aircraft to its limits in structural strength, vehicle systems performance, and aerodynamics while proving excellent handling qualities, Lockheed Martin said. The company also completed all U.K. weapon delivery accuracy tests for the AIM-132 ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons, and completed 45 of 50 weapon delivery accuracy tests. This included multiple target and multiple shot engagements as well as internal gun and centerline external pod 25mm gun accuracy tests, the company said.

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