The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft fleet recently exceeded 100,000 flight hours while the F-35 Integrated Test Force teams are completing the remaining requirements in the program's System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.
"This 100K milestone marks a significant level of maturity for the program and the F-35 weapons system," said Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and F-35 Program General Manager Jeff Babione. "We are well positioned to complete air vehicle full 3F and mission systems software development by the end of 2017."
The remaining development flight testing includes validating the final release of 3F software, F-35B ski jump testing, F-35B austere site operations, high-Mach Loads testing for both the F-35B and F-35C and completion of the remaining weapons delivery accuracy tests.
Major SDD fleet test milestones in recent months include:
Three distinct variants of the F-35 Lightning II will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for 11 other countries, to date. Following the U.S. Marine Corps' July 2015 combat-ready Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration, the U.S. Air Force attained service IOC in Aug. 2016 and the U.S. Navy will IOC in 2019.