BAE Completes F-35A Airframe Durability Test

BAE Systems has completed third life testing on a full-scale durability test airframe for the conventional takeoff-and-landing variant of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter aircraft.

AJ-1, which represents the F-35A‘s airframe, underwent durability and load endurance tests equivalent to 24,000 flight hours inside a 386-ton structural test rig installed at a BAE facility in Brough, England, the company said Thursday.

“Completing third life testing on the F-35A durability article will provide us the data to enable the warfighter to maintain and sustain this aircraft beyond 2050,” said Kathy Nesmith, F-35 Joint Program Office Airframe Team lead at BAE.

The rig is designed to simulate simulate real-life fleet usage and fitted with more than 20 miles of wiring, 2,500 strain gauges and 160 loading actuators.

BAE noted it will ship the F-35A durability test airframe to the U.S. for further inspection.

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