Tag Archives: F-35B Lightning II

Italian-Built F-35B

The first Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) version of the F-35 Lightning II, or F-35B, assembled outside the United States rolled out of the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility here on May 5.

The first F-35B built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility rolls out May 5 (Aeronautica Militare Photo)
The first F-35B built at the Cameri, Italy, Final Assembly & Check-Out (FACO) facility rolls out May 5 (Aeronautica Militare Photo)

The rollout exhibits the ongoing strong partnership between the Italian Ministry of Defense, industry partner Leonardo and Lockheed Martin. The Italian FACO is owned by the Italian Ministry of Defense and is operated by Leonardo in conjunction with Lockheed Martin with a current workforce of more than 800 skilled personnel engaged in full assembly of the Conventional Take-off/Landing (CTOL) F-35A Lightning II and F-35B Lightning II aircraft variants and F-35A Lightning II wing production.

General Claudio Graziano, Italian chief of defense, General Carlo Magrassi, secretary general of defense/director of National Armament, Admiral Mathias Winter, deputy program executive officer at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, Filippo Bagnato, Leonardo Aircraft Division’s Managing Director, and Doug Wilhelm, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Program Management vice president, spoke at the milestone event.

«Italy is not only a valued F-35 Lightning II program partner that has achieved many F-35 Lightning II program ‘firsts’, but is also a critical NATO air component force, providing advanced airpower for the alliance for the coming decades», Wilhelm said. «Italian industry has participated in the design of the F-35 Lightning II and Italian industry made components fly on every production F-35 Lightning II built to date».

The jet’s first flight is anticipated in late August and it is programmed to be delivered to the Italian Ministry of Defense in November. In addition, two Italian F-35A Lightning II aircraft will deliver from Cameri this year, the first by July and the second in the fourth quarter. To date, seven F-35As have been delivered from the Cameri FACO; four of those jets are now based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for international pilot training and three are at Amendola Air Base, near Foggio on the Adriatic coast. The Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) has already flown more than 100 flight hours in its Amendola-based F-35As.

After a series of confidence flights from Cameri, an Italian pilot will fly their first F-35B Lightning II jet to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, early in 2018 to conduct required Electromagnetic Environmental Effects certification. The next Italian F-35B Lightning II aircraft is scheduled for delivery in November 2018. The Cameri FACO has the only F-35B Lightning II production capability outside the United States and is programmed to produce a total of 30 Italian F-35Bs and 60 Italian F-35As, along with 29 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and retains the capacity to deliver to other European partners in the future.

The Italian FACO is also producing 835 F-35A Lightning II full wing sets to support all customers in the program. The FACO was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2014 as the F-35 Lightning II Heavy Airframe Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade facility for the European region. The 101-acre facility includes 22 buildings and more than one million square feet of covered work space, housing 11 assembly stations, and five maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade bays.

On September 7, 2015, the first Italian-produced F-35 Lightning II built at the Cameri FACO made the first international flight in F-35 Lightning II program history, and in February 2016, the F-35A Lightning II made the program’s first trans-Atlantic crossing. In December 2016, the Italian Air Force’s first F-35s arrived at the first in-country base, Amendola AB.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 Lightning II will replace the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon for the U.S. Air Force, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least 11 other countries. The Italian F-35As and Bs replace the legacy Panavia Tornado, AMX and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II aircraft. More than 200 production F-35s have been delivered fleet-wide and have flown more than 90,000 flight hours.

 

Specifications

Length 51.2 feet/15.6 m
Height 14.3 feet/4.36 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 21.8 feet/6.65 m
Weight empty 32,300 lbs/14,651 kg
Internal fuel capacity 13,500 lbs/6,125 kg
Weapons payload 15,000 lbs/6,800 kg
Maximum weight 60,000 lbs class/27,215 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-600
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/18,597 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/12,247 kgf
Short Take Off Thrust 40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf
Hover Thrust 40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf
Main Engine 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Lift Fan 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Roll Post 3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf
Main Engine Length 369 inch/9.37 m
Main Engine Inlet Diameter 43 inch/1.09 m
Main Engine Maximum Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Lift Fan Inlet Diameter 51 inch/1,30 m
Lift Fan Maximum Diameter 53 inch/1,34 m
Conventional Bypass Ratio 0.57
Powered Lift Bypass Ratio 0.51
Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio 29
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >450 NM/517.6 miles/833 km
Range (internal fuel) >900 NM/1,036 miles/1,667 km
Max g-rating 7.0
Planned Quantities
U.S. Marine Corps 340
U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy 138
Italy 30
In total 508

 

F-35 on USS America

Five Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft landed on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) on Friday, October 28. America will embark seven F-35Bs – two are scheduled to begin the third shipboard phase of Developmental Test (DT-III) and five are scheduled to conduct operational testing. America, the first ship of its class, is an aviation-centric platform that incorporates key design elements to accommodate the fifth-generation fighter.

An F-35B Lightning II aircraft launches for the first time off the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Wooddy/Released)
An F-35B Lightning II aircraft launches for the first time off the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Wooddy/Released)

The ship’s design features several aviation capabilities enhanced beyond previous amphibious assault ships which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment, as well as increased aviation fuel capacity. America is capable of accommodating F-35Bs, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and a complement of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters.

The third test phase will evaluate F-35B Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) operations in a high-sea state, shipboard landings, and night operations. The cadre of flight test pilots, engineers, maintainers, and support personnel from the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) are assigned to Air Test & Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

«It’s exciting to start the execution phase of our detachment with VMX-1 (Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1) on USS America», said Lieutenant Colonel Tom «Sally» Fields, F-35 Patuxent River ITF Government Flight Test director assigned to VX-23. «During the next three weeks, we will be completing critical flight test for both Developmental Test (DT) and Operational Test (OT). The F-35 Pax River ITF and VX-23 will be conducting DT work that will establish the boundaries of safe operation for the F-35B in the 3F configuration. VMX-1 will be conducting OT operations focused on preparing maintenance crews and pilots for the first deployment of the F-35B aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1), scheduled to start in just over a year».

The operational testing will also include simulating extensive maintenance aboard a ship, said Colonel George Rowell, commanding officer of VMX-1, based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Rowell stated one of the VMX jets on board will be placed in the hangar bay, taken apart, and put together again, just to make sure everything goes well.

The maintenance work will include the replacement of a lift fan, the specialized equipment made by Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney that gives the F-35B variant its short take-off, “jump jet” capability, Rowell said. The Marine Corps variant of the F-35 Lightning II reached the fleet first, with the service declaring initial operational capability July 2015.

«The F-35 Lightning II is the most versatile, agile, and technologically-advanced aircraft in the skies today, enabling our Corps to be the nation’s force in readiness – regardless of the threat, and regardless of the location of the battle», said Lieutenant General Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, Marine Corps. «As we modernize our fixed-wing aviation assets for the future, the continued development and fielding of the short take-off and vertical landing, the F-35B remains the centerpiece of this effort».

«The America class of amphibious assault ship design enables it to carry a larger and more diverse complement of aircraft, including the tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey, the new F-35 Lightning II, and a mix of cargo and assault helicopters», added Davis. «America is able to support a wide spectrum of military operations and missions, including putting Marines ashore for combat operations, launching air strikes, keeping sea lanes free and open for the movement of global commerce, and delivering humanitarian aid following a natural disaster».

This graphic illustration depicts the U.S. Navy's first live fire demonstration to successfully test the integration of the F-35 with existing Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture. During the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, September 12, an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat. The aircraft then sent data through its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based launch facility designed to simulate a ship at sea. Using the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 and a Standard Missile 6, the system successfully detected and engaged the target (U.S. Navy graphic illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)
This graphic illustration depicts the U.S. Navy’s first live fire demonstration to successfully test the integration of the F-35 with existing Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture. During the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, September 12, an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat. The aircraft then sent data through its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based launch facility designed to simulate a ship at sea. Using the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 and a Standard Missile 6, the system successfully detected and engaged the target (U.S. Navy graphic illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)

Lightning is ready

The Marine Corps declared on July 31 that a squadron of 10 F-35B Lightning II aircraft is ready for worldwide deployment. The Marines’ declaration of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for its squadron of F-35Bs «marks a significant milestone in the continued evolution of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program», Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall said in a statement issued on July 31.

An F-35B Lightning II prepares to taxi on the flight deck of the USS Wasp during night operations at sea as part of a Marine Corps operational test, May, 22, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Anne K. Henry)
An F-35B Lightning II prepares to taxi on the flight deck of the USS Wasp during night operations at sea as part of a Marine Corps operational test, May, 22, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Anne K. Henry)

«The decision was made following a thorough operational readiness inspection, which assessed the U.S. Marine Corps’ ability to employ this complex weapon system in an operational environment», Kendall continued. «This achievement is a testament to the efforts of the F-35 Joint Program Office and industry team, as well as the hard work and support from the U.S. Marine Corps».

 

The F-35 Program is on Track

«This accomplishment is an affirmation that the F-35 program is on track to deliver essential 5th generation warfighting capabilities to our U.S. services and international partners», Kendall added. «It is also a reminder that we still have work ahead to deliver the full warfighting capability required by all three services and our partners while we continue our successful efforts to drive cost out of the program».

Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing, May 18, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing, May 18, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, or VMFA-121, based in Yuma, Arizona, is the first squadron in military history to become operational with an F-35 variant, following a five-day operational readiness inspection, which concluded July 17, according to a news release issued on July 31 by the U.S. Marine Corps.

«I am pleased to announce that VMFA-121 has achieved Initial Operational Capability in the F-35B, as defined by requirements outlined in the June 2014 Joint Report to Congressional Defense Committees», Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commandant of the Marine Corps, said in the U.S. Marine Corps release.

«VMFA-121 has ten aircraft in the Block 2B configuration with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities, and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship», Dunford continued. «It is capable of conducting close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of a Marine air-ground task force, or in support of the joint force».

Dunford stated that he has his full confidence in the F-35B’s ability to support Marines in combat, predicated on years of concurrent developmental testing and operational flying.

«Prior to declaring Initial Operating Capability, we have conducted flight operations for seven weeks at sea aboard an L-Class carrier, participated in multiple large force exercises, and executed a recent operational evaluation which included multiple live ordnance sorties», Dunford said. «The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our nation with its first 5th generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win».

F135-PW-600 engine for F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)
F135-PW-600 engine for F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)

 

F-35 Will Eventually Replace Legacy Aircraft

As the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation, the F-35 will eventually replace three legacy platforms: the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler, according to the Marine Corps release.

«The success of VMFA-121 is a reflection of the hard work and effort by the Marines in the squadron, those involved in the program over many years, and the support we have received from across the Department of the Navy, the joint program office, our industry partners, and the undersecretary of defense», Dunford added. «Achieving Initial Operating Capability has truly been a team effort».

The Marine Corps has trained and qualified more than 50 Marine F-35B pilots and certified about 500 maintenance personnel to assume autonomous, organic-level maintenance support for the F-35B, the release said.

Marine Attack Squadron 211, an AV-8B Harrier II squadron, is scheduled to transition next to the F-35B in fiscal year 2016, according to the release. In 2018, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, an F/A-18 Hornet squadron, will conduct its transition.

Arrival (Vertical landing) on USS Wasp for DT-II. Mr. Peter Wilson was the pilot on 12 August 2013
Arrival (Vertical landing) on USS Wasp for DT-II. Mr. Peter Wilson was the pilot on 12 August 2013

 

Specifications

Length 51.2 feet/15.6 m
Height 14.3 feet/4.36 m
Wingspan 35 feet/10.7 m
Wing area 460 feet2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span 21.8 feet/6.65 m
Weight empty 32,300 lbs/14,651 kg
Internal fuel capacity 13,500 lbs/6,125 kg
Weapons payload 15,000 lbs/6,800 kg
Maximum weight 60,000 lbs class/27,215 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound/907 kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-600
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/18,597 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/12,247 kgf
Short Take Off Thrust 40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf
Hover Thrust 40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf
Main Engine 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Lift Fan 18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf
Roll Post 3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf
Main Engine Length 369 inch/9.37 m
Main Engine Inlet Diameter 43 inch/1.09 m
Main Engine Maximum Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Lift Fan Inlet Diameter 51 inch/1,30 m
Lift Fan Maximum Diameter 53 inch/1,34 m
Conventional Bypass Ratio 0.57
Powered Lift Bypass Ratio 0.51
Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio 29
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6 (~1,043 knots/1,200 mph/ 1,931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel) >450 NM/517.6 miles/833 km
Range (internal fuel) >900 NM/1,036 miles/1,667 km
Max g-rating 7.0
Planned Quantities
U.S. Marine Corps 340
U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy 138
Italy 30
In total 508
An F-35B test jet takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 21, 2013. The takeoff was part of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing variant
An F-35B test jet takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 21, 2013. The takeoff was part of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing variant

Operational Trials

Six U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II jet aircraft arrived on the evening of May 18, 2015 aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) off the coast of the United States’ Eastern Seaboard to mark the beginning of the first shipboard phase of the F-35B Operational Test (OT-1).

A sailor aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) signals to the pilot of an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to land as it arrives for the first phase of operational testing, May 18, 2015. The short take-off, vertical landing capabilities of the F-35B are crucial to the mission of the Marine Corps and necessary for operation aboard a Navy amphibious ship (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
A sailor aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) signals to the pilot of an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to land as it arrives for the first phase of operational testing, May 18, 2015. The short take-off, vertical landing capabilities of the F-35B are crucial to the mission of the Marine Corps and necessary for operation aboard a Navy amphibious ship (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

The at-sea period will continue aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1) for the next two weeks, with fleet representative aircraft and maintenance personnel from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadrons 13 and 31.

OT-1 will assess the integration of the F-35B while operating across a wide array of flight and deck operations. Specific OT-1 objectives include:

  • demonstrating and assessing day and night flight operations in varying aircraft configurations;
  • digital interoperability of aircraft and ship systems;
  • F-35B landing signal officer’s launch and recovery software;
  • day and night weapons loading;
  • all aspects of maintenance, logistics, and sustainment support of the F-35B while deployed at sea.

Additionally, the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team is working closely with Naval Sea Systems Command to assess specific modifications made to USS Wasp (LHD-1) to support future deployments.

«The F-35 Lightning II is the most versatile, agile and technologically-advanced aircraft in the skies today, enabling our Marine Corps to be the nation’s force in readiness, regardless of the threat, and regardless of the location of the battle», said Lieutenant General Jon Davis, the Deputy Commandant for Marine Corps Aviation. «As we modernize our fixed-wing aviation assets for the future, the continued development and fielding of the short take-off and vertical landing, the F-35B remains the centerpiece of this effort».

Data collected and lessons learned during OT-1 will lay the groundwork for F-35B deployments aboard U.S. Navy amphibious carriers following the Marine Corps’ F-35B Initial Operating Capability (IOC) declaration planned for this coming July.

Marines and sailors aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) secure and refuel an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter after its arrival for the first session of operational testing, May 18, 2015. Data and information gathered from OT-1 will lay the groundwork for F-35B deployments aboard Navy amphibious ships and the announcement of the Marine Corps' initial operating capacity of the F-35B in July (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
Marines and sailors aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) secure and refuel an F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter after its arrival for the first session of operational testing, May 18, 2015. Data and information gathered from OT-1 will lay the groundwork for F-35B deployments aboard Navy amphibious ships and the announcement of the Marine Corps’ initial operating capacity of the F-35B in July (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

 

F-35B SPECIFICATIONS

Length:                                                       51.2 feet/15.6 m

Height:                                                       14.3 feet/4.36 m

Wingspan:                                                35 feet/10.7 m

Wing area:                                                460 feet2/42.7 m2

Horizontal tail span:                           21.8 feet/6.65 m

Weight empty:                                       32,300 lbs/14,651 kg

Internal fuel capacity:                        13,500 lb/6,125 kg

Weapons payload:                               15,000 lbs/6,800 kg

Maximum weight:                                60,000 lbs class/27,215 kg

Standard internal weapons load:

Two AIM-120C Air-to-Air Missiles

Two 2,000-pound/907-kg GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs

Four F-35B Lighting II Joing Strike Fighters (JSF) sit secured to the deck after their arrival aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1), May 18, 2015. As the future of Marine Corps aviation, the F-35B will eventually replace all aircraft from three legacy Marine Corps platforms; the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
Four F-35B Lighting II Joing Strike Fighters (JSF) sit secured to the deck after their arrival aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1), May 18, 2015. As the future of Marine Corps aviation, the F-35B will eventually replace all aircraft from three legacy Marine Corps platforms; the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings):    F135-PW-600

Maximum Power (with afterburner):         41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/ 18,597 kgf

Military Power (without afterburner):      27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/ 12,247 kgf

Short Take Off Thrust:                              40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf

Hover Thrust:                                                 40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf

Main Engine:                                                   18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf

Lift Fan:                                                              18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf

Roll Post:                                                           3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf

Length:                                                               369 in/9.37 m

Main Engine Inlet Diameter:                 43 in/1.09 m

Main Engine Maximum Diameter:     46 in/1.17 m

Lift Fan Inlet Diameter:                            51 in/1,30 m

Lift Fan Maximum Diameter:               53 in/1,34 m

Conventional Bypass Ratio:                  0.57

Powered Lift Bypass Ratio:                   0.51

Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio:         28

Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio:          29

An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter idles on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in preparation for take-off, May 18, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter idles on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in preparation for take-off, May 18, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

Speed (full internal weapons load):               Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/1,931 km/h)

Combat radius (internal fuel):                          >450 NM/833 km

Range (internal fuel):                                             >900 NM/1,667 km

Max g-rating:                                                              7.0

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Marine Corps:                                        340;

U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy:        138;

Italy:                                                                          30;

In total:                                                                  508

Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing, May 18, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)
Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during the opening day of the first session of operational testing, May 18, 2015 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/Released)

Vertical Take-Off

A UK test team including personnel from BAE Systems, has successfully completed initial aircraft handling trials for ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) and Paveway IV weapons on the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, United States.

A US Marine Corps F-35B is shown here carrying two Asraam air-to-air missiles and four Paveway IV laser-guided bombs during initial weapon trials in the US
A US Marine Corps F-35B is shown here carrying two Asraam air-to-air missiles and four Paveway IV laser-guided bombs during initial weapon trials in the US

The trial or «dummy» weapons rounds, which are identical in fit and form to the operational weapons, were tested on the Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B for the first time during a series of flights from the U.S. Navy’s test facility at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The initial tests are an important step in integrating weapons onto the F-35B, allowing test pilots to understand how they affect the way the aircraft performs and handles.

The UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) already uses ASRAAM and Paveway IV on its existing combat air fleet. The successful tests are a step towards full interoperability between the current and future fast jets that will be used by the RAF and the UK’s Royal Navy from 2018.

Two F-35B STOVL aircraft, flown by Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell from the RAF, completed nine flights with MBDA’s ASRAAM missiles and Raytheon’s Paveway IV laser guided bombs. The flights involved different configurations of both weapons types on the aircraft.

A United Kingdom Royal Air Force test pilot takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 13, 2013. The flight marked the first time a U.K. military pilot flew an F-35B short takeoff mission at sea
A United Kingdom Royal Air Force test pilot takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 13, 2013. The flight marked the first time a U.K. military pilot flew an F-35B short takeoff mission at sea

The successful tests will be followed by the next stage of weapons testing due to take place in early 2015. These tests will involve weapon separation and then guided releases of both ASRAAM and Paveway IV from the aircraft.

BAE Systems’ lead test pilot for F-35, Pete Wilson, said: «The team at Patuxent River has got over two thousand hours of flying under their belts for the F-35B variant and the handling and performance of the aircraft has shone through throughout. These latest trials were no exception and help us to move confidently into the next phase of weapons testing».

J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for F-35 Test & Verification from the Joint Strike Fighter programme added: «These trials show the truly international nature of the F-35 enterprise – being led out of a U.S. Navy facility, involving a joint U.K. Ministry of Defence and industry team, working alongside the U.S. Department of Defence and Lockheed Martin. And the test results for one partner will benefit all, further demonstrating the versatility and capability of the F-35 as a multi-role platform».

An F-35B test aircraft flies in short takeoff/vertical landing mode in November 2013
An F-35B test aircraft flies in short takeoff/vertical landing mode in November 2013

Modern security challenges require a wide distribution of forces and the ability to operate successfully in a broad range of scenarios. Protecting freedom and ensuring security in today’s battlespace calls for an unprecedented aircraft.

For the first time in aviation history, the most lethal fighter characteristics – supersonic speed, radar-evading stealth, extreme agility and Short Take-off Vertical Landing – have been combined in a single platform; the F-35B.

With the F-35B Lightning II in their fleet, expeditionary forces, like the U.S. Marine Corps, have a decisive advantage over their adversaries. The F-35B’s versatility, as demonstrated onboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1), will revolutionize expeditionary combat power in all threat environments by allowing operations from major bases, damaged airstrips, remote locations and a wide range of air-capable ships. The F-35B gives warfighters the ability to accomplish their mission, wherever and whenever duty calls.

F-35B test aircraft BF-1 lands aboard the USS Wasp for the first time on Aug. 12, 2013. The landing marked the beginning of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35’s short takeoff/vertical landing variant
F-35B test aircraft BF-1 lands aboard the USS Wasp for the first time on Aug. 12, 2013. The landing marked the beginning of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35’s short takeoff/vertical landing variant

 

F-35B SPECIFICATIONS

Length:                                                            51.2 ft/15.6 m

Height:                                                            14.3 ft/4.36 m

Wingspan:                                                     35 ft/10.7 m

Wing area:                                                     460 ft2/42.7 m2

Horizontal tail span:                                21.8 ft/6.65 m

Weight empty:                                            32,300 lb/14,651 kg

Internal fuel capacity:                             13,500 lb/6,125 kg

Weapons payload:                                    15,000 lb/6,800 kg

Maximum weight:                                     60,000 lb class/27,215 kg

Standard internal weapons load:     Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles

Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs

F135-PW-600 engine for F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)
F135-PW-600 engine for F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)

Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings):                F135-PW-600

Maximum Power (with afterburner):                     41,000 lbs/182,4 kN/ 18,597 kgf

Military Power (without afterburner):                  27,000 lbs/120,1 kN/ 12,247 kgf

Short Take Off Thrust:                             40,740 lbs/181,2 kN/18,479 kgf

Hover Thrust:                                                40,650 lbs/180,8 kN/18,438 kgf

Main Engine:                                                  18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf

Lift Fan:                                                             18,680 lbs/83,1 kN/8,473 kgf

Roll Post:                                                           3,290 lbs/14,6 kN/1,492 kgf

Length:                                                               369 in/9.37 m

Main Engine Inlet Diameter:                 43 in/1.09 m

Main Engine Maximum Diameter:     46 in/1.17 m

Lift Fan Inlet Diameter:                            51 in/1,30 m

Lift Fan Maximum Diameter:                53 in/1,34 m

Conventional Bypass Ratio:                   0.57

Powered Lift Bypass Ratio:                    0.51

Conventional Overall Pressure Ratio:         28

Powered Lift Overall Pressure Ratio:           29

An F-35B test jet takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 21, 2013. The takeoff was part of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing variant
An F-35B test jet takes off from the USS Wasp on Aug. 21, 2013. The takeoff was part of Developmental Test Phase Two for the F-35 short takeoff/vertical landing variant

Speed (full internal weapons load):                Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/ 1931 km/h)

Combat radius (internal fuel):                           >450 NM/833 km

Range (internal fuel):                                              >900 NM/1667 km

Max g-rating:                                                               7.0

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Marine Corps:                                                   340;

U.K. Royal Air Force/Royal Navy:                   138;

Italy:                                                                                     30;

In total:                                                                            508