Another major test successfully completed.
If you’re not familiar with this particular test program, this is how they test the ability of the air frame to take the stress and loads it is designed to handle during its lifetime.
They actually test it by providing more stress and higher loads than it will be required to endure over a longer period of time than it is designed to fly.
After successfully completing the static test programme on the F-35 (known as AG-1) we have now returned the aircraft back to Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth.
The static test programme broke all records for the speed of testing having applied more than 150 different loading configurations in just over nine months.
Having proven the strength of the aircraft is now beginning the 4500 mile journey back to the US after almost three and a half years in the structural test facility at Brough.
Static testing the F-35 means that the aircraft has been ‘flown’ to its limits with loads applied to it replicating the effect of high gravitational forces far beyond any conditions likely to be flown in actual flight. This is done with the airframe nesting in a multi-million pound rig kitted out with over 4000 strain gauges, 170 actuators and over 50 miles of wiring at our Brough site in Yorkshire. Brough is home to a world leading facility for putting aircraft through their paces to ensure they are strong enough and resilient enough to perform in the harshest environments in the world.
The F-35 has passed with flying colors, no pun intended. This speaks to the robustness of the design for this aircraft. It is scheduled to be our premier strike fighter for 55 years, and the test program has proven it is structurally up to the task.
Not bad for a “flying piano”, is it?