BAE Systems announced the successful conclusion
of durability testing of its F-35A
airframe. The completion is the culmination of the F-35A's third life testing at BAE Systems' testing facility in East Yorkshire in England, which is equivalent to 24,000 hours of "flying," and easily exceeds the F-35 programme requirement of a service life of 8,000 flight hours. The F-35B and F-35C durability test airframes already have completed 16,000 hour second life testing, with additional tests being conducted to maximize the life of the aircraft. Known officially as AJ-1, the F-35A airframe is designed to operate from conventional runways and is the only F-35 variant to carry an internal cannon.
The US Navy released Thursday a $34.6 million award
to Lockheed Martin for integration work with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
and small-diameter bomb (SDB) II. Under the terms of the deal, Lockheed will carry out weapons capabilities technology maturation and risk reduction pre-engineering, manufacturing and development activities for dual-capability F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft and small-diameter bomb 2 (SDB-II) in support of the Marine Corps and Air Force. Work will take place at Fort Worth, Texas, with a scheduled completion time of July 2018.
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.