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F-35 Ready to Ace Tests with Successful Weapon Testing

Written by on Friday, February 24th, 2012

Lockheed Martin has secured the contract with the Department of Defense to supply the USAF with over 2,000 F-35s, and the military contract company is working harder to ever to push out F-35s and ensure that they are up to snuff.

To that end, Lockheed has created a rigorous test schedule that put the F-35 through a battery of tests. They are aiming for 1,001 test flights in the 2012 year and expect to achieve 10,000 test points per year, up until 2015.

The F-35 and Lockheed pilots have already hit the grindstone, running through basic weapon and flight testing so that more advanced testing can follow. Thus far, they have conducted 114 flight tests and accumulated 773 test points, but they still have a long path ahead of them.

Most of the completed tests to date have involved flight testing, though they are quickly moving towards the first live-fire weapon tests. During recent flight tests, an F-35A successfully carried 2 AIM-9X missiles on its external pylons, as well as 2 AIM-120 missiles internally and a pair of 2,000-pound buy antibiotics online bombs. While this may seem like a hefty load, this weapon array is far from the F-35’s maximum of 18,000 pounds.

We can expect that tests involving aerial live weapon firing is soon to follow. Testers have already successfully pit tested weapons on the F-35B, which entailed firing weapons while the aircraft was on the ground.

Because the F-35 has 3 different variants, F-35 testers will need to be particularly diligent to ensure that each of the variants performs admirably in all categories. For 2012, the F-35A has accumulated 46 flights, the B variant has completed 45 flights, and the C model has only 23 flights.

While testers have only taken the first several steps on a very long journey, initial test results are favorable. The F-35 has met or exceeded expectations, and the F-35B performed so admirably in 2011 that Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, removed the F-35B’s probation far ahead of schedule. If future tests continue to follow this trend, then the F-35 will undoubtedly emerge as a top 5th generation multi-purpose fighter.


If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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