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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lockheed F-35 heads for the ski jump in next key round of tests

F-35 Lightning IILockheed Martin Corp's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will start "ski-jump testing" at a Maryland air base this week, while another B-model jet wraps up six months of tests at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 Celsius) to as high as 120 F (49 C).

Two UK pilots will test the ability of the new warplane to take off from upward-sloping ski-jump ramps used on aircraft carriers like those operated by Britain and Italy. The ramps launch the jets forward and upward, reducing the thrust needed.

Sylvia Pierson, spokeswoman for the Pentagon's F-35 program office, said two British pilots, one from BAE Systems Plc and the other from the British Royal Navy, would use the first UK F-35B jet to complete the testing through late May.

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