Tag Archives: F-35C

F-35C Completes First Night Flight Aboard Aircraft Carrier

By on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

The F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter conducted its first carrier-based night flight operations aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego Nov. 13.

Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ted “Dutch” Dyckman piloted F-35C test aircraft CF-03 for the inaugural night flight, taking off from USS Nimitz (CVN 68). At 6:01 p.m. Dyckman conducted a series of planned touch and goes before making an arrested landing at 6:40 pm.

The night flight was part of Development Testing I (DT-I) for the F-35C, which commenced Nov. 3 and is expected to last two weeks. The Nimitz is hosting the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 during the initial sea trials of the F-35C.

During DT-I, the test team has conducted a series of events designed to gradually expand the aircraft-operating envelope at sea, including crosswind and low-energy, high-wind catapult launches and approaches to test the aircraft’s ability to perform in both nominal and off-nominal conditions.

Through Nov. 13, two test F-35C aircraft have completed 28 flights for a combined 34.5 flight hours and accomplished more than 75 percent of threshold test requirements. The aircraft also performed 108 catapult launches, 215 planned touch-and-go landings, two long touch and go landings, 110 arrested landings and zero bolters.

Testing thus far has demonstrated the aircraft’s exceptional handling qualities throughout all tested launch and recovery conditions. F-35C maintenance and operations have integrated well with standard Navy carrier procedures onboard Nimitz. The F-35C has proven its ability to operate in the carrier environment and has consistently caught the optimal three-wire during arrested landings. The test team successfully landed during every attempt, with zero hook-down bolters, or failures to catch an arresting cable on the flight deck.

The goal of DT-I, the first of three at-sea test phases planned for the F-35C, is to collect environmental data through added instrumentation to measure the F-35C’s integration to flight deck operations and to further define the F-35C’s operating parameters aboard the aircraft carrier. A thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operated in the shipboard environment will advise the Navy of any adjustments necessary to ensure that the fifth-generation fighter is fully capable and ready to deploy to the fleet in 2018.

The successful night flight of the F-35C represents a step forward in the development of the Navy’s next generation fighter.

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F-35C Initial At-Sea Testing Progressing Aboard USS Nimitz

By on Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The F-35C Lightning II, the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, continues initial sea trials aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) off the coast of Southern California.

Through Nov. 6, the fourth day of at-sea testing, two test F-35C aircraft have completed 12 flights. During those 12 flights, the aircraft flew a combined 12.7 flight hours and accomplished 203 test points.

The Navy’s newest fixed-wing fighter performed 55 catapult launches, 84 planned touch-and-go landings and 57 arrested landings. Through four days of at-sea testing, the test team successfully landed during every attempt, with zero bolters, or failures to catch an arresting cable on the flight deck.

With the last of the four test pilots completing carrier qualifications Nov. 6, all aircrew members are now carrier-qualified and able to fly the aircraft in test events.

During the first stage of developmental testing, the test team conducts a series of events designed to gradually expand the aircraft-operating envelope at sea. Events scheduled for Nov. 7 center on crosswind catapult launches and crosswind approaches to test the aircraft’s ability to perform in both nominal and off-nominal conditions.

At-sea test delivers the opportunity to conduct operations in preparation for Navy F-35C initial operational capability scheduled for 2018.

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First Lockheed Martin F-35C Reports to the Navy

By on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The first Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Navy carrier variant (CV) aircraft, CF-6, arrived at Strike Fighter Squadron 101 located at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Saturday. The jet is the Navy’s first 5th generation F-35 production aircraft.

Strike Fighter Squadron 101 will serve as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both pilots and maintainers. CF-6 will join a fleet of 12 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jets and 13 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) jets already assigned to Eglin. Later this year, four additional CVs will join the fleet.

U.S. Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert flew CF-6 on its ferry flight. Last year, he became the first military test pilot to fly all variants of the F-35.

“We are committed to the Navy’s vision for the F-35 that will revolutionize forward based combat power in current and future threat environments,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. “The F-35 represents the new standard in weapon systems integration, maintainability, combat radius and payload that brings true multi-mission capability to the Navy.”

The F-35C, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ CV, has larger wings and more robust landing gear than the other F-35 variants. The CV has the greatest internal fuel, at 19,624 pounds, making it suitable for catapult launches and fly-in arrestments aboard naval aircraft carriers. Its wingtips fold to allow for capacity and, like the F-35B, the C-variant uses probe and drogue refueling.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 10 other countries. The U.S. Navy plans to declare Initial Operational Capability with the CV in 2019.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 118,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

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New Software Makes F-35C Carrier Landings Easier

By on Friday, July 27th, 2012

Flying approaches for a carrier landing just might be a little easier in the future.

The F-35 Integrated Test Force here completed the first dedicated test flight May 4 to evaluate the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter’s approach handling characteristics with new flight control laws.

The new flight control software, called Integrated Direct Lift Control (IDLC), translates pilot commands into choreographed changes to engine power and control surface movement, greatly improving glide path control, according to one test pilot.

“I’ve landed [F/A-18] Hornets on a carrier, and I can tell you there is a lot less lag in the F-35C with the IDLC,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor, an F-35 test pilot. “I would have been comfortable making the approaches in the carrier environment after just two to three passes.”

Precise glide path control is critical to landing safely on the carrier as a pilot concentrates on maintaining glide slope, angle of attack and lineup.

“Landing on a carrier with current fleet aircraft requires the pilot to make dozens of precise three-part power corrections,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Bibeau, carrier suitability department head for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23. “It’s an acquired skill, needs practice and intense concentration, like hitting a baseball.”

Pilots typically qualify to land on a carrier by completing around 30 landings while in initial flight training and at their fleet replacement squadrons.

“We have to spend a significant amount of training time on carrier landings, especially night landings,” Bibeau said. “To make all the little high-pressure adjustments takes headwork, intellect and reflexes. It’s unforgiving.”

But with the new flight control software IDLC in the F-35, Taylor sees “the potential to reduce the training burden for new pilots going to the ship.”

The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear to withstand catapult launches and deck landing impacts associated with the demanding aircraft carrier environment. The F-35C is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet.

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New Flight Control Mode Improves F-35C Handling on Landing Approach

Flying approaches for a carrier landing just might be a little easier in the future. The F-35 Integrated Test Force at Patuxent River completed the first dedicated test flight May 4 to evaluate the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter’s approach handling characteristics with new flight control laws. Part of software version 2A the new flight control software, called Integrated Direct Lift Control (IDLC), translates pilot commands into choreographed changes to engine power and control surface movement, greatly improving glide path control, according to one test pilot.

“I’ve landed [F/A-18] Hornets on a carrier, and I can tell you there is a lot less lag in the F-35C with the IDLC,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor, an F-35 test pilot. “I would have been comfortable making the approaches in the carrier environment after just two to three passes.” Precise glide path control is critical to landing safely on the carrier as a pilot concentrates on maintaining glide slope, angle of attack and lineup.

“Landing on a carrier with current fleet aircraft requires the pilot to make dozens of precise three-part power corrections,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Bibeau, carrier suitability department head for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23. “It’s an acquired skill, needs practice and intense concentration, like hitting a baseball.”

Pilots typically qualify to land on a carrier by completing around 30 landings while in initial flight training and at their fleet replacement squadrons. “We have to spend a significant amount of training time on carrier landings, especially night landings,” Bibeau said. “To make all the little high-pressure adjustments takes headwork, intellect and reflexes. It’s unforgiving.” But with the new flight control software IDLC in the F-35, Taylor sees “the potential to reduce the training burden for new pilots going to the ship.”

The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear to withstand catapult launches and deck landing impacts associated with the demanding aircraft carrier environment. The F-35C is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the fleet.

Another change to the F-35C is the redesigned tail hook. Lockheed Martin is confident the redesigned tailhook will be ready for the planned carrier flight tests currently scheduled for 2014. The original hook did not perform well and casued the aircraft to miss the arresting cable too often.

The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been flying with new flight control modes improving final approach and landing on an aircraft carrier. Photo: Lockheed Martin

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