F-35A Testing at Lightning Speed

Testing of the F-35A, the Air Force’s version of the F-35 strike fighter, was ahead of schedule through late August, according to officials involved in the flight test activities at Edwards AFB, Calif. AF-1 and AF-2, the two F-35A test aircraft at Edwards, had completed 53 sorties by then, along with 536 unique test points, they said. That pace was about three times that of the original schedule, said Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, Air Force Flight Test Center commander. Indeed, the original test plan had scheduled only 17 sorties and 150 test points on the timeline, according to the Edwards officials. Lt. Col. George Griffiths, 461st Flight Test Squadron commander, said the F-35A is “going to be a great weapon system.” While flight testing is progressing well at Edwards, the Marine Corps F-35B short-takeoff variant is still behind on its test schedule, FlightGlobal reported Wednesday. (Edwards report by Kenji Thuloweit) (See also Edwards report by Diane Betzler)