F-35 Full-Scale Model Begins Mission Systems Testing


Released on Friday, November 12, 2004
United States of America
F-35A Lightning II
F-35B Lightning II
F-35C Lightning II
CNI - Communication, Navigation and Identification
EW - Electronic Warfare
GPS - Global Positioning System
JSF - Joint Strike Fighter
kg - kilograms
UHF - Ultra High Frequency
VHF - Very High Frequency
Lockheed-Martin has announced that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) full-scale model has began mission systems testing at the US Air Force Research Laboratories' test facility in Newport, New York.

The F-35 model has been integrated on a testing pole aiming at evaluating the Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) and Electronic Warfare (EW) systems functionality.

The model was manufactured by Advanced Technologies Inc of Newport News, Virginia to measure installed antenna pattern, gain and phase measurements for the noted systems. It weights 8,500 pounds (3,850 kg) and was produced over a 44-week period (10-month). With interchangeable wing and tail components, it has the capability to simulate all three F-35 variants to be developed under the JSF program.

The aperture test program began on October 1 this year with testing of the CNI system's upper L-band antennas from Ball Aerospace. Early test results meet or exceed pattern and gain F-35 requirements. Additional tests are evaluating the performance of the CNI system's satellite communications, Global Positioning System (GPS), and UHF/VHF communications apertures. EW system is planned to begin testing in 2005.

These test are requested in order to get the first F-35 JSF fighter aircraft airworthy by 2006, when the first flight is expected to happen. To do so, the next test phases will validate CNI and EW systems in a clean aircraft configuration, which means no external stores attached, landing gear up, and doors closed. Additional tests will validate CNI and EW performance with various external weapons configurations. The F-35 model will also help reduce flight testing needed to verify mission systems and avionics performance as well as to verify the F-35 radio frequency compatibility.

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