NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., 19 Feb. 2010. The third F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md..
The third of the five Lockheed Martin STOVL test jets joined the F-35 fleet at the Test Center as "our flight test program initiates the expansion of the F-35's flight-sciences envelope," says Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration.
The jet, known as BF-3, joins two other F-35Bs at the Navy test site, and will be used mainly to evaluate flight systems and expand the aircraft's aerodynamic and structural-loads envelope. The airplane will also focus on weapons testing, and will carry and release most of the weapons the F-35B will use in combat. Two more F-35Bs will join the test operation in the near future. The latter airplanes will be the primary test assets for the F-35's integrated mission systems.
In addition to flight testing, the F-35 Program is using the Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) for maintenance actions, spares tracking and technical data support. ALIS is part of the F-35's innovative sustainment architecture monitored by the F-35 Autonomic Logistics Global Sustainment (ALGS) Operations Center in Fort Worth. The early deployment of the F-35 net-enabled logistics system to be used by all nine partner countries helps ensure the F-35's smooth transition to operational status, and is a key enabler for lower life cycle costs.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, advanced sustainment, and lower operational and support costs. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.