February 25, 2008 (by Eric L. Palmer) - Fuel systems tests on the F-35B Short Take-Off Vertical Landing variant (STOVL) aircraft have been completed by BAE 5 days ahead of schedule.
The F-35B STOVL first flight should happen sometime in mid-summer
The important fuel checks of the design and build of the aircraft was led by BAE
Systems and involved constant testing, 24 hours a day for 13 days, which checked the calibration of the aircraft’s fuel gauging systems. Testing took place at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant in Texas where the first STOVL
aircraft, BF-1, is currently undergoing a series of tests in preparation of first flight.
BAE Systems will now carry out structural coupling, ground vibration testing and complete hydraulic testing of the doors and landing gear.
BAE Systems is responsible for the design and delivery of the aft fuselage and empennage for each of the three F-35 variants, as well as key areas of the vehicle and mission systems, in particular the fuel system, crew escape, life support system and prognostics health management integration. The Company also has significant work share in autonomic logistics, primarily on the support system side, and is involved in the Integrated Test Force, including the systems flight test and mission systems.
The F-35B should be ready for it's first flight by mid-summer.