Lockheed Martin and the F-35 joint program office have wrapped a series of durability, drop and static tests designed to validate the F-35 aircraft’s resilience and strength in combat environments and support maintenance forecasting and fleet management operations.
The fighter aircraft has an average service lifetime of 8K hours and preliminary ground testing results showed that the F-35A variant completed 24K hours of testing or three simulated service lifetimes, Lockheed said Monday.
“We look forward to analyzing the results and bringing forward the data to potentially extend the aircraft’s lifetime certification even further,” said Greg Ulmer, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program at Lockheed.
“Already certified for one of the longest lifetimes of any fighter, an increase would greatly reduce future costs for all F-35 customers over several decades to come,” Ulmer added.
Lockheed tested the F-35B and F-35C airframes at its Fort Worth, Texas-based facility, while the F-35A variant completed the tests at BAE Systems’ facility in the U.K.
Lockheed said final teardown inspections on the three variants are carried out at the Wichita, Kansas-based National Institute for Aviation Research.