Thursday, May 29, 2014

F-35 marks three firsts

In three separate flight tests Tuesday, F-35 aircraft demonstrated air-to-air combat capability, completed the first flight test with the next level software load and accomplished a landing at the maximum test speed and drop rate. In the Point Mugu Sea Test Range airspace off the California coast, an F-35B demonstrated the jet's air-to-air combat capability when it sequentially engaged two aerial targets with two AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). Test pilot Lt. Col. Andrew ‘Growler’ Allen tracked two maneuvering drone targets, making the very first dual AMRAAM shot from any F-35 variant, and the first live AMRAAM shot from the F-35B short take off and vertical landing variant. Fleet-wide, the Lockheed Martin F-35 has, to date, amassed more than 17,000 flight hours, with all three variant aircraft at the F-35 Integrated Training Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., surpassing the 5,000 sorties milestone this week. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 05/29/14)