The F-35 Integrated Test Flight team at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. recently completed in-air deployments of the Norwegian Drag Chute System. The drag chute is unique to Norwegian F-35A aircraft and rapidly decelerates Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35s after landing on the country's icy runways.
These tests were required in order for the maximum amount of force to be applied to the entire system. Tests were first conducted 19 March using full afterburner a few thousand feet above the runway in level flight. When the pilot deployed the chute under these conditions, the heat from the afterburner slightly tore the chute and invalidated the test data.
The flight test team reassessed its method to achieve the proper loads. On 28 March, the aircraft deployed the chute while conducting a dive and maintaining the engine power at idle. This enabled the flight engineers to collect the data points necessary to complete the in-air testing.
Pending final data review, all drag chute testing is complete and Norway is on track for full certification of the system by the end of this year.
Earlier this year, cold-weather testing of the drag chute system was conducted at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska and Norway's Air Force validated the drag chute at Ørland Air Force Base 16 February.