Accelerates To Mach 1.05 With Full Internal Payload
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter felt the need... the
need for SPEED! The advanced fighter aircraft flew supersonic for
the first time last week, accelerating to Mach 1.05 (about 680
miles per hour) in testing November 13.
Lockheed says the test validated the F-35 Lightning II's
capability to operate beyond the speed of sound and was
accomplished with a full internal load of "dummy" weapons on the
"The F-35 transitioned from subsonic to supersonic just as our
engineers and our computer modeling had predicted," said Jon
Beesley, Lockheed Martin's chief F-35 test pilot. "I continue to be
impressed with the aircraft's power and strong acceleration, and
I'm pleased that its precise handling qualities are retained in
supersonic flight, even with a payload of 5,400 pounds (2,450
kilograms) in the weapons bays."
Beesley said it was also a significant achievement for a test
aircraft to fly supersonic for the first time with the weight of a
full internal load of weapons. The milestone was achieved on the
69th flight of F-35 aircraft AA-1.
For the test, Beesley climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to
Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour, over a rural area in north
Texas. The F-35 accomplished four transitions through the sound
barrier, spending a total of eight minutes in supersonic
The flight was preceded by a high-subsonic mission earlier in
the day. Future testing will gradually expand the flight envelope
out to the aircraft's top speed of Mach 1.6, which the F-35 is
designed to achieve with a full internal load of weapons.
F-35 AA-1, a conventional takeoff and landing variant (CTOL),
and F-35 BF-1, a short takeoff/vertical landing variant (STOVL),
together have combined for 83 test flights.