F-35 Flight Test Update 13
(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued May 12, 2014)
The previous F-35 Flight Test Update concluded with the first live guided missile launch from an F-35 on 30 October 2013. This first installment of 2014 and the thirteenth installment overall in the series of F-35 flight testing reviews presents a variety of subsequent weapon testing, including additional guided AIM-120 missile launches and guided GBU-32 drops for the F-35A, AIM-120 separation tests for the F-35C, and ten-weapon loads for the F-35A and F-35C.

High angle of attack testing continued with the beginning of intentional departure tests of the F-35C at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division test facility at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The F-35 System Development and Demonstration Program set flight duration records and surpassed 4,000 total test flights during this period as well.

-- 4 November 2013: First F-35C AIM-120 Separation Test
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Patrick Moran flew F-35C CF-2 from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, for the first AIM-120 AMRAAM separation test from the F-35C.

-- 6 November 2013: First F-35C GBU-31 Separation Test
Navy Capt. Justin Carlson flew F-35C CF-2 from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, for the first GBU-31 separation test from the F-35C.

-- 12 November 2013: 400 Flights For F-35A AF-2
Marine Corps Maj. Richard Rusnok flew Flight 400 of F-35A AF-2 at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, California.

-- 15 November 2013: Second Guided AIM-120 Launch
The F-35 program executed its second live-fire launch of a guided air-to-air missile over the US Navy’s test range off the coast of California. The AIM-120 was launched from F-35A AF-6 operating from the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB, California. The pilot, Air Force Lt. Col. Brent Reinhardt, launched the AIM-120 from the F-35 internal weapon bay against an aerial drone target.

-- 18 November 2013: Final Separation Test For F-35C 2B Software
Navy Capt. Justin Carlson performed the final F-35C separation test required for F-35C Block 2B software. The test mission, which originated from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, involved dropping a GBU-31 from the internal bay of F-35C CF-2 in a thirty-degree dive at Mach 0.92.

-- 18 November 2013: First Departure Test For F-35C
Lockheed test pilot Dan Canin flew F-35C CF-5 for the first intentional departure from controlled flight test for an F-35C. These tests are part of the high angle of attack testing being conducted by the F-35 Integrated Test Force at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

-- 19 November 2013: First Multiship Flight With All Three F-35 Variants
Test pilots from the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB, California, conducted the first multiship flight with all three F-35 variants during a test mission to evaluate the F-35’s Multifunction Advanced Data Link, or MADL. Four F-35s exchanged information during the flight—two F-35As, one F-35B, and one F-35C.

-- 6 December 2013: First Guided GBU-32 Delivery From F-35B
US government test pilot Vince Caterina was at the controls of F-35B BF-18 for the first guided GBU-32 delivery from an F-35B. Caterina used the Electro-Optical Targeting System, or EOTS, to guide a GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition to a specified ground target after releasing the weapon from the internal weapon bay of the F-35 at Mach 0.9 and at 25,000 foot altitude. The GBU-32 is a 1,000-pound Mk-83 general-purpose bomb mated with an INS/GPS guidance kit and guidance fins for precision strike. The test mission was conducted from Edwards AFB, California.

-- 16 December 2013: New Test Pilot At Pax
Royal Air Force Sdn. Ldr. Andy Edgell took off in an F-35 for the first time to become the newest test pilot at the F-35 Integrated Test for at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. His first flight was Flight 50 for F-35C CF-5.

-- 17 December 2013: Longest Flight Duration
Lockheed Martin test pilot Paul Hattendorf was at the controls of F-35A AF-7 for a 5.2-hour mission systems test flight from Edwards AFB, California. The flight, which also marked 500 hours for AF-7, was the longest test mission to date for the F-35 program. Coincidentally, Lockheed Martin test pilot David Nelson completed a 5.2-hour mission on the same day in F-35A AF-3.

-- 8 January 2014: First F-35B Formation Takeoffs And Landings
BAE Systems test pilot Peter Wilson flying F-35B BF-1 and Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flying F-35B BF-5 completed the first conventional mode formation takeoff and landing in the F-35B.

-- 9 January 2014: Initial Departure Testing For F-35C
Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Canin was at the controls of F-35C CF-5 for the initial departure resistance test flights with the weapon bay door open for the F-35C. The flight occurred at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

-- 10 January 2014: First Flight With Ten Weapons
Lt. Col. Brent Reinhardt was at the controls of F-35A AF-1 Flight 350 for the first test mission flown with ten weapons. The flight, which originated from Edwards AFB, California, was used to evaluate the handling qualities of the F-35A. The weapon load consisted of six 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II bombs (two mounted in the internal weapon bays and four mounted under the wings), two AIM-120 AMRAAMs mounted in the internal weapon bays, and two AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles mounted under the wings.

-- 13 January 2014: F-35C Flight With Ten Weapons And Gun Pod
RAF Sdn. Ldr. Andy Edgell flew F-35C CF-1 for the first test mission of the F-35C with ten weapons and one gun pod. The flight, which originated from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, was used to evaluate the handling qualities of the F-35C with a full weapon load. The load consisted of four 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II bombs and two AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles mounted under the wings and two GBU-32s and two AIM-120 AMRAAMs mounted in the internal weapon bays. A 25mm gun pod was mounted on the external centerline station as well.

-- 15 January 2014: F-35A Clean Wing Testing Completed
Air Force Maj. Matt Phillips was at the controls of F-35A AF-4 for a 2.6-hour performance and aerial refueling test mission that marked the completion of all the clean wing performance testing for the F-35A flight envelope. The flight occurred at Edwards AFB, California.

-- 27 January 2014: First F-35B High AOA Flight With External Stores
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Patrick Moran flew the first F-35B high angle of attack test mission with external stores on the F-35B BF-2. The external stores included two AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and weapon pylons on the other four wing stations.

-- 31 January 2014: Mission Systems Monthly Testing Record
Forty-four flights were completed in January 2014 for the F-35 mission systems test fleet, which set a record for flights in one month. Mission systems aircraft include F-35A AF-3, AF-6, AF-7, BF-5, BF-17, BF-18, and CF-8.

-- 7 February 2014: Twelve Flights In One Day
The System Development and Demonstration Program set a new one-day flight record by completing twelve flights in one day. The prior record was for eleven flights in one day. The aircraft involved included three F-35As, five F-35Bs, and four F-35Cs flying from the F-35 Integrated Test Forces at Edwards AFB, California, and at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

-- 7 February 2014: 200 Flights For AF-6
Air Force Maj. Matt Phillips was at the controls of AF-6 for its 200th flight, which involved a sensor fusion mission flown from Edwards AFB, California.

-- 11 February 2014: First STOVL Formation Flight
Two F-35Bs flew in close formation for the first time while in short takeoff/vertical landing, or STOVL, mode. BAE test pilot Peter Wilson flying F-35B BF-1 and Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flying F-35B BF-5 conducted the mission from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The mission was used to evaluate the effects the aircraft had on one another while in STOVL mode to ensure F-35Bs can perform safely in formation while flying in an operational environment.

-- 12 February 2014: First Formation Short Takeoff
F-35Bs flew in close formation for the first time during takeoffs and landings while in short takeoff/vertical landing, or STOVL, mode. BAE test pilot Peter Wilson flying F-35B BF-1 and Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flying F-35B BF-5 conducted the tests from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

-- 25 February 2014: First AMRAAM Launch At White Sands
Air Force Maj. Andrew Rollins was at the controls of F-35A AF-6 for the first AIM-120 AMRRAM launch from an F-35 over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

-- 25 February 2014: Longest Flights To Date
Two F-35 pilots broke the single flight F-35 duration record during the first AMRAAM launch at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Air Force Maj. Mark Massaro flying BF-18 and Air Force Maj. Andrew Rollins flying AF-6 completed the round trip from Edwards AFB to the range in 5.7 hours. The previous duration record was 5.1 hours.

-- 27 February 2014: 4,000 Total Flights For SDD
System Development and Demonstration Program flight test aircraft surpassed 4,000 total flights.

-- 18 March 2014: 500 Hours For AF-3
F-35A AF-3 surpassed 500 flight hours, becoming the second mission systems aircraft to achieve this milestone.

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