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Navy Says 35C Test Aircraft Exceeding Test And Evaluation Goals

CF-1 Aircraft Has Already Completed Half Its Planned Test Flights For This Year

Naval Air Systems Command said Wednesday in a news release that the test aircraft for the carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter have exceeded test and evaluation program goals so far this year. According to the announcement, the F-35C test aircraft, 'CF-1,' currently at Naval Air Station Patuxent River has completed 36 test flights as of May 11, nearly half the program's goal for the year of 85.

"CF-1's been flying well, even with a number of planned and unplanned maintenance periods," said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Roger Cordell, military site director. "It's a great sign for the fleet that the aircraft is doing well so early in the test program." In April, CF-1 completed 13 flights, tying a record for the number of test flights for any aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Additionally, the integrated test team has completed seven CF-1 test flights this month.

"The team has been doing a great job staying on top of maintenance requirements," said Jim McClendon, Lockheed Martin site director vice president. "Just last week, CF-1 flew six flights in six days, which is a great accomplishment in any test program, let alone test and evaluation for a brand new aircraft."

Coupled with this week's arrival of the second carrier variant, CF-2, and arrival of CF-3 later this year, the F-35C test program is making rapid progress toward initial carrier suitability testing this year at Joint Base Lakehurst-McGuire-Dix in New Jersey. First carrier suitability testing this summer is scheduled to include the first catapult launches, and the F-35C is scheduled to commence shipboard testing in 2013.



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