F-35 Logs 15,000 Flight Hours

The joint service F-35 Lightning II fleet recently notched up 15,000 total flying hours, announced Lockheed Martin. “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is even more impressive is the fact that operational F-35s accounted for more than half of those,” said J.D. McFarlan, the company’s F-35 vice president for test and verification. Air Force F-35A test aircraft have logged 328 flight hours. The service’s operational Lightning IIs have clocked 963 hours in the air so far in 2014, states the release. “Reliability metrics are trending upward as the operations tempo picks up—recently 60 F-35 sorties were flown in one day,” added McFarlan. “While the fleet continues to train, we are actively flight testing the software and mission systems” to reach the Marine Corps’ initial operational capability target “next year as planned,” he said.