Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and Edwards Air Force Base in one cool photo

Taken on Aug. 8, during an airstart testing mission, this cool picture shows F-35B test aircraft BF-2 overflying Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Edwards AFB is the most famous U.S. test base. Home of the 412th Test Wing and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, it has hosted flight testing campaigns of almost every American military plane since the ’50s.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

Photo: F-35 Completes first airborne weapons separation

Traveling at 400 knots at an altitude of 4,200 ft, F-35 BF-3, a STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing) JSF variant, released an inert 1,000 lb GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) separation weapon over water in an Atlantic test range.

Here is the text of the NAVAIR and the Joint Program Office press release:

 “While this weapons separation test is just one event in a series of hundreds of flights and thousands of test points that we are executing this year, it does represent a significant entry into a new phase of testing for the F-35 program,” said Navy Capt. Erik Etz, director of test for F-35 naval variants. “Today’s release of a JDAM was the result of extraordinary effort by our team of maintainers, engineers, pilots and others that are consistently working long hours to deliver F-35 warfighting capability to the U.S. services and our international partners.”

The release was the first time for any version of the F-35 to conduct an airborne weapon separation, as well as the first from an internal weapons bay for a fighter aircraft designated for the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom and Italy.

The milestone marks the start of validating the F-35’s capability to employ precision weapons and allow pilots to engage the enemy on the ground and in the air.

“[Using an internal weapons bay] speaks to how much capability the JSF is going to bring to the troops,” said Dan Levin, Lockheed Martin test pilot for the mission. “Stealth, fifth generation avionics, and precision weapons … coupled with the flexible mission capability of the short take-off and vertical landing F-3 5B is going to be huge for our warfighters.”

An aerial weapons separation test checks for proper release of the weapon from its carriage system and trajectory away from the aircraft. It is the culmination of a significant number of prerequisite tests, including ground fit checks, ground pit drops and aerial captive carriage and environment flights to ensure the system is working properly before expanding the test envelope in the air.

Aircraft and land-based test monitoring systems collected data from the successful separation which is in review at the F-35 integrated test force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.


Image credit: Lockheed Martin Photo by Layne Laughter

Image credit: Lockheed Martin Photo by Andy Wolfe

As seen in this photo, the first British F-35B Joint Strike Fighter is a real cool looking badass combat plane

On Jul. 19, the United Kingdom accepted the first international Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft in a ceremony attended by senior representatives of the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The U.K. was the first of eight international partners to join the F-35 program and plans to acquire the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

Photo: UK's second F-35B makes inaugural flight

On Jul. 11, 2012, F-35B BK-2 took the air from NAS Fort Worth JRB for the aircraft’s inaugural flight. Piloted by Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti, the second F-35 produced for the United Kingdom (serial number ZM136), flew a 1.4-hour maiden flight.

It will join other F-35s at the training center at Eglin AFB, Florida, later this year.

BK1, the UK’s first of three development aircraft (serial ZM135), made its inaugural test flight on Apr. 13.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

Farnborough 2012: Close up view of the mysterious F-35's multimission pod. Did it really carry a gun in February 2012?

Can you remember the first images of the F-35 carrying a white 25 mm gun pod?

I was visiting the booth of Terma, a Danish firm, when I stumbled upon this:

The multimission pod for the F-35 is actually the same white pod carried on the centerline unveiled by the photographs released in February 2012.

The F-35 pod is a full monocoque composite structure in carbon fiber that can be used to expand the JSF’s special mission capabilities, by allowing the plane to fly “Next Generation EW and ISR systems, such as Jammers and EO sensors”as well as an external cannon.

Since, it was engineered and flown in February 2012 I wonder if it actually contained a 25 mm cannon (as Naval Air Systems Command affirmed at the time) when it appeared underneath the F-35 for the first time on Feb. 22.

Indeed, I can’t see any clear sign of a barrel coming out of it in the images available so far. But it may use a new system I don’t know yet or the fact that the pod has low observability features…. :)