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March 08, 2011

Lockheed reports F-35 testing progress

Lockheed Martin issued a brief update on F-35 flight testing late Tuesday that shows the program is gaining some momentum, although it's hard to tell how much since we don't have a way of measuring it against the latest schedule.

As of Tuesday, the program has already completed better than 40 percent of the test flights planned for March, 24 out of 55.

In February, the program accomplished 65 test flights, the highest monthly total yet. The four F-35A models now flying at Edwards Air Force Base completed 25 flights compared to the 18 planned. 

Progress was very good at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, where the five F-35B models completed 34 flights, compared to a planned 17 and the lone F-35C completed six flights, one more than planned. The STOVL F-35Bs at Pax have now completed 57 vertical landings, 47 of them so far this year, a sign that the reliability of that model seems to have improved significantly.

Test aircraft BF-2 in February became the first F-35 to complete 100 test flights.

- Bob Cox





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