U.S. Navy photo: Chief Petty Officer Eric A. Clement
Written on November 15, 2008 8:00 am by Frontier India Strategic and Defence
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flew supersonic for the first time yesterday, achieving another milestone. The aircraft accelerated to Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour. The test validated the F-35 Lightning II’s capability to operate beyond the speed of sound and was accomplished with a full internal load of inert or « dummy » weapons on the one-hour flight.
« The F-35 transitioned from subsonic to supersonic just as our engineers and our computer modeling had predicted, » said Jon Beesley, Lockheed Martin’s chief F-35 test pilot. « I continue to be impressed with the aircraft’s power and strong acceleration, and I’m pleased that its precise handling qualities are retained in supersonic flight, even with a payload of 5,400 pounds (2,450 kilograms) in the weapons bays. »
F-35 USAF photo Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes
Beesley said it was also a significant achievement for a test aircraft to fly supersonic for the first time with the weight of a full internal load of weapons. The milestone was achieved on the 69th flight of F-35 aircraft AA-1. Beesley climbed to 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and accelerated to Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour, over a rural area in north Texas. The F-35 accomplished four transitions through the sound barrier, spending a total of eight minutes in supersonic flight. The flight was preceded by a high-subsonic mission earlier in the day. Future testing will gradually expand the flight envelope out to the aircraft’s top speed of Mach 1.6, which the F-35 is designed to achieve with a full internal load of weapons.
F-35 AA-1, a conventional takeoff and landing variant (CTOL), and F-35 BF-1, a short takeoff/vertical landing variant (STOVL), together have combined for 83 test flights.
The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.
X-35 JSF – U.S. Air Force photo
Mirages F1CR belonging to the 2/33 Savoie Reconnaissance Squadron.
Seventy French airmen along with fourteen other nations took part in an electronic warfare field test in Sardinia from September 27th to October 17th.
This NATO exercise called « Trial Imperial Hammer » aimed at training the armed forces to fuse information gathered from various inteligence sources – aircraft, radars, satellites. An AWACS from the 702 French Air Force Base at Avord; 2 Mirages F1CR from 2/33 « Savoie » Reconnaissance Squadron at Reims, and a C160 Gabriel from Metz took part in the implementation of this field trial together with the French Navy and the French Army.
The development of the information management and communication capabilities is critical to ensure support for the operations.
Source et photos: SIRPA AIR (http://www.defense.gouv.fr/air/)
BOEING courtesy (www.boeing.com)