July 30, 2014 (by Eric Schnaible) - In an important program milestone enabling U.S. Marines Corps Initial Operational Capability (IOC) certification, the Lockheed Martin F-35B recently completed required wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, California. [Lockheed Martin photo by Tom Reynolds]
"This testing is absolutely critical to 2B flight software fleet release and the Marine Corps’ IOC,” said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin's vice president for F-35 Test & Verification. “Collectively, the results support clearing the 20 knot crosswind envelope for Conventional Take Off & Landings (CTOL
), Short Take Offs (STO) and Short Landings (SL), with ideal handling quality ratings and meaningful improvement over legacy 4th generational fighter aircraft.”
The testing, completed in 37 missions during a 41-day period, achieved 114 test points, including 48 of 48 wet runway test points, four of four performance STOs, 12 of 18 unique flight test conditions for STO, 19 of 23 unique flight test conditions for SLs and all directional control and anti-skid wet runway testing. All testing was performed with BF-4, based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
In other achievements, four aircraft surpassed flight hour milestones, demonstrating program maturity and reliability: F-35C aircraft CF-1 and F-35A aircraft AF-4 achieved 500 flight hours, and F-35C aircraft CF-5 achieved 100 flight hours.