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Lockheed Martin completes F-35A Ground test

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A file photo of F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant.

FORT WORTH (BNS): Lockheed Martin has successfully completed full-scale structural testing of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft at its BAE Systems' Structural & Dynamic Test Laboratory.

The test programme was conducted on AG-1 (A model, ground test vehicle), five months ahead of schedule and in less than half the time of legacy programmes.

The strength and stability of the aircraft structure were verified to 150 percent of design limits or 13.5 G's (force of gravity), with 174 critical load conditions applied to the airframe to evaluate its structural integrity.

The test programme was mainly conducted at BAE Systems Structural & Dynamic Test Laboratory in Brough, England. The U.K. tests began in August 2009 and were accomplished in 295 days a rate that exceeded the record-setting pace previously established by the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) static test programme.

"This was a major milestone, and the test results demonstrate that the F-35 has a fantastic airframe. As a principal subcontractor to Lockheed Martin, one of the capabilities BAE Systems brings to the F-35 programme is our structural test expertise. The structural and dynamic test facility at Brough is a centre of excellence in the U.K, Mick Ord, BAE Systems managing director for the F-35 programme, said in an official news release.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter as it combines advanced stealth with supersonic speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations with lower operational and support costs.

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