The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft fleet recently exceeded 100,000 flight hours while the F-35 Integrated Test Force teams are completing the remaining requirements in the program's System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.
"This 100K milestone marks a significant level of maturity for the program and the F-35 weapons system," said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-35 Program General Manager Jeff Babione. "We are well positioned to complete air vehicle full 3F and mission systems software development by the end of 2017."
The remaining development flight testing includes validating the final release of 3F software, F-35B ski jump testing, F-35B austere site operations, high-Mach Loads testing for both the F-35B and F-35C and completion of the remaining weapons delivery accuracy tests.
Major SDD fleet test milestones in recent months include:
Completed testing for the F-35A's final envelope involving 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.
Completed all U.K. Weapon Delivery Accuracy tests for the AIM-132 ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons, and completed 45 of 50 SDD Weapon Delivery Accuracy tests including multiple target and multiple shot engagements as well as internal gun and centerline external pod 25mm gun accuracy tests.
Performed multi-ship mission effectiveness tests, such as Offensive Counter-Air and Maritime Interdiction, demonstrating the performance of the F-35 System.
Three distinct variants of the F-35 Lightning II will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the US Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for 11 other countries, to date. Following the US Marine Corps' July 2015 combat-ready Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration, the US Air Force attained service IOC in Aug. 2016 and the US Navy will IOC in 2019.