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)
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
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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