Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin

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

Video: First F-35 Carrier Variant night flight. With heavy afterburner usage.

After the first cool images, here’s the video of the F-35C test plane CF-2 during the first night flight on Jun. 13.

As seen when the F-35A made its first night sortie in January, note the green night formation lights, used by combat plane to make formation flying easier after dark.

Possibly unknown/damaged drone spotted at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Program Facility (on the same day Iran captured a U.S. stealthy RQ-170)

If you point your Google Earth client towards Palmdale, California, you will find a very interesting imagery signature at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Program Facility.

Widely known as “Skunk Works” LM’s Advanced Development Program Facility is where some of the most adveniristic “black projects” are developed.

Although it’s a bit hard to believe that any new drone (or secret variant of a known one) would be quietly sitting open-air for any satellite to see, what Open Source GEOINT has found is at least worth a mention.

Located next to an F-16 (mock-up?), there is a covered object whose shape is quite similar to the one of the RQ-170 Sentinel, the stealthy drone captured in Iran at the beginning of December 2011.

The wingspan exceeds the one of a radar evading Sentinel and the left wing appears to be slightly broken, as if the packaged drone was damaged.

Image credit: OSGEOINT

As OSGEOINT’s George Kaplan notes:

“Although the signature above does not conform to any known UAV, it’s possible this could be anything from a mock-up to a failed design. (However, if it were a mock-up, why would LM feel the need to cover it?).”

“Measurements taken from imagery suggests the craft is roughly the same size as the RQ-170 at 4.8 meters while the wingspan is considerably larger–when compared to open source estimates–at 16.60 meters.”

Therefore, it has more or less the same shape and size of an RQ-170 and the packaging, for protective reasons rather than security and confidentiality) could extend beyond the wingtips.

And, incidentally, the satellite image was taken on Dec. 4, the same day when the radar-evading drone crash landed somewhere in Iran during a spying mission.

First F-35A sporting 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron lettering and "OT" tail code, spotted at NAS Forth Worth JRB

The following image, taken on May 17, shows the first flight of F-35A AF-17 at NAS Fort Worth JRB (Joint Reserve Base), with Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti at the controls.

The aircraft, scheduled to go to Eglin AFB, Florida, later in 2012, is the first to get the 31 TES lettering as well as the 53rd Wing’s “OT” tail code alongside the AF-18, that did not get the 31 TES lettering though.

Something new at least, in a world dominated by tedious overall gray planeswith low visibility markings.

Belonging to the Eglin’s 53 Wing, the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron is located at Edwards AFB, California. According to the Air Force website:

“The squadron evaluates the operational effectiveness and suitability of advanced ACC weapon systems by providing operations, maintenance and engineering experts to work alongside AFMC and Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center personnel. The squadron also provides early war-fighter insight and influence during developmental testing. Weapon systems currently involved in operational test and evaluation include the F-35, B-1, B-2, B-52, RQ-4 Global Hawk, and MQ-9 Reaper. Squadron personnel integrate live test results with modeling and simulation data to predict combat capabilities under realistic scenarios thereby setting the stage for tactical development in the Combat Air Forces. Results and conclusions support DoD acquisition, deployment and employment decisions.”

Time to add a new type to the list.

Photo by Carl Richards / Code One