Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

U.S. F-16s tasked to destroy enemy radars, missile batteries to get the same radar-absorbing paint job of the F-35

All the U.S. “Wild Weasel” F-16s are being given a new paint job similar to the one of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

It is called “Have Glass 5th generation” as it represents the evolution of the standard Have Glass program that saw all the F-16s receiving a two-tone grey color scheme made with a special radar-absorbing paint capable to reduce the aircraft Radar Cross Section: in fact, “Vipers” are covered with RAM (Radar Absorbent Material) made of microscopic metal grains that can degrade the radar signature of the aircraft.

For the moment, the JSF-like paint job will be applied to the F-16CM (formerly CJ) Block 50 Fighting Falcon aircraft that can carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface ordnance, including  HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles) and precision-guided munitions.

Their role is to enter the enemy territory ahead of the strike package to take care of the enemy air defenses: radars and fixed and mobile SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) batteries.

Therefore, the units that will fly with the F-16CMs in the new color scheme will be those tasked with SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) missions: the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem (Germany), the 35th FW at Misawa (Japan), the 20th FW at Shaw Air Force Base, the 169th FW at McEntire Joint National Guard Base (SC), and 148th FW at Duluth International Airport, (MN).

Whilst two aircraft in the U.S. flew the Have Glass 4 paint job for test purposes (98-0004 and 98-0005 flying with the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron from Eglin AFB) the first aircraft spotted in the new livery is a Minnesota ANG F-16CM, 91-0391, that is currently deployed at Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The F-35 will replace the F-16CM in the SEAD role in the future.

Image credit: Antonio Muñiz Zaragüeta


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