in Defence

BAE Systems completes third life testing of F-35A airframe

Posted 9 November 2017 · Add Comment

A full scale durability test airframe of the F-35A aircraft has successfully completed its third life testing, equivalent to 24,000 hours of 'flying', in the unique testing facility at BAE Systems' site in Brough, East Yorkshire.

Above: Successful completion of full scale durability test completed in structural test rig in BAE Systems' facility at Brough.

The airframe, known as AJ-1, is representative of the F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variant of the jet.

While in the 350-tonnes structural test rig it has been subjected to and tested on the range of loads it would experience in actual flight, with durability tests carried out to simulate real life fleet usage based on projected operational requirements.
BAE Systems' durability test rig is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom and it has supported the testing of AJ-1 since it arrived in Brough in 2009. It is fitted with more than 20 miles of wiring, 2,500 strain gauges and 160 loading actuators which are attached to the airframe during testing.

The F-35A durability test airframe will now leave the rig and travel to the United States where it will undergo further detailed inspections.
Kathy Nesmith, F-35 Joint Program Office Airframe Team Lead, said: “The F-35 programme requires a service life of 8,000 flight hours. This is verified through durability testing to two lifetimes or 16,000 hours. Completing third life testing on the F-35A durability article will provide us the data to enable the warfighter to maintain and sustain this aircraft beyond 2050.”
Matt Edghill, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Structures Development Director, said: “The 5th generation F-35, with advanced speed and agility, pushes the boundaries of engineering and physics. This durability testing confirms the airframe will perform in and withstand the demanding environments it will experience throughout its operational lifetime. Completion of the F-35A’s third lifetime test gives our programme great confidence in the aircraft’s strength and durability for decades to come.”
Andy Prendergast, Operations Manager for Structural and Dynamic Test at BAE Systems, said: "This testing has pushed the F-35A airframe to its limits to make sure it will fly safely and effectively throughout its lifetime. We have continually checked the airframe for any signs of stresses and strains and reported findings back to the programme so structural improvements could be made, if required, long before any issues appear in the flying fleet."
BAE Systems leads structural testing on the CTOL variant of the F-35 with Lockheed Martin, the programme’s prime contractor, that is also responsible for testing of the aircraft's other variants: the F-35B Short Take-Off; Vertical Landing (STOVL); and the F-35C Carrier Variant (CV).
Both the F-35B and F-35C durability test articles have completed 16,000 hour second life testing and are continuing with additional testing to maximise the life of the aircraft.
The F-35 is the latest in a line of aircraft to have been tested at Brough which includes the Buccaneer, Harrier, Hawk and most recently, Eurofighter Typhoon, which continues to be tested at the site.

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Latest News

NATS signs cooperation agreement with HungaroControl

The UK-based air traffic services provider, NATS, has signed an agreement with its Hungarian counterpart, HungaroControl, with the view to collaborating on digital tower projects around the world.

Babcock supporting small businesses with Innovation Zone

Babcock International is offering start–ups and small businesses the unique opportunity to showcase their latest innovations in the Babcock Innovation Zone at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) conference and exhibition in

Defence Secretary announces £3.7m Ajax threat detection deal

The Defence Secretary has announced a £3.7 million deal to equip the Army’s next generation armoured vehicle with the latest in automated threat warning systems.

Jacksons Fencing secures defence assets at Portsmouth Naval Base

Jacksons Fencing has installed high security solutions at Portsmouth Naval Base, including Princess Royal Jetty, the shared border with the historic HMS Warrior 1980, an iconic harrier jump jet display and the base’s main entrance at

Aeroco to double the size of its new facility

Due to growth in customer demand, aircraft cabin and component maintenance specialist, Aeroco Group International, has announced further investment plans that will double the size of its brand-new state of the art facility.

UKspace welcomes the Space Industry Bill passing into law

UKspace welcomes the passing into law of the Space Industry Bill which not only puts in place the enabling legislation to allow space flight from UK soil, it also modernises the existing UK space law keeping pace with technology trends and

ODU SK191217191218
See us at
SMI HelicopterTBT1402240518SMI FAVWSBT1402060618FIL18 BT111017220718Aviation Africa BT18418SMI FAVSABT2411120418