F-35 Test, Production and Delivery Highlights of 2012
Lockheed Martin delivered 30 aircraft - 11 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing, 18 short takeoff/vertical landing and one System Development and Demonstration carrier variant aircraft. This is more than double 2011's delivery total of 13.
F-35 test and production aircraft flew 2,106 flights in 2012. The SDD team flew 1,167 test flights for more than 9,300 test points, including the program's first in-flight weapons releases for the F-35A and F-35B variants. Production aircraft flew 939 times at Eglin Air Force Base and Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth, Texas, facility. The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin also completed its Operational Utility Evaluation and was declared ready for training in 2013. Scroll down to watch the full video and read about the significance of the following milestones:
- First F-35B Deliveries to MCAS Yuma
- Airstart Testing
- High Angle of Attack Testing
- First International F-35 delivery to the UK
First F-35B Deliveries to MCAS Yuma
Three Lockheed Martin F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft were officially delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps during ceremonies at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Nov. 20. The three jets are assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 residing with the host Marine Aircraft Group 13.
Yuma is the first Marine Corps air station to receive F-35 aircraft. F-35Bs previously delivered to the Marine Corps are stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for joint pilot and maintainer training. Read more.
Watch the video below for highlights from the delivery ceremony.
Both the F-35A and F-35B variants completed airstart testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 2012. During the tests, pilots shut down the single F135 engine in flight and restarted it, verifying the capability of the propulsion system. Airstarts are a prerequisite for high angle of attack testing, when tests at very slow speeds can prevent airflow to the engine. Hear from a test pilot about the F-35A tests in the video below.
High Angle of Attack Testing
High angle of attack (AOA) testing for the F-35A variant began November 2012 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Prior to the beginning AOA tests, the team was required to complete airstart tests and install an emergency spin chute. Angle of attack testing defines the flight control limits for the F-35. Higher angles of attack are associated with slower flight speeds, which are important for determining combat capability within visual range. Test pilots achieved the maximum design limit of 50 degrees angle of attack on the fourth AOA flight test and will continue the testing into 2013. Watch the video below to hear more about the importance of the tests from test pilot Vince Caterina.
First International F-35 Delivery to the U.K.
The United Kingdom accepted the first international F-35 Lightning II aircraft in a ceremony July 12 with senior representatives of the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Department of Defense. The F-35B aircraft, known as ZM135, flew to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., July 23 for operational test and evaluation and training in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. Read more.
Watch the video below for highlights from the ceremony.