BAE Systems is set to begin its third phase of durability testing on airframes for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter at the Military Air and Information site located in Brough, East Yorkshire.
The testing aims to evaluate the airframes’ ability to handle a variety of flight conditions lasting a total of 8,000 hours, equal to an airframe’s lifetime.
The company has previously completed three lifetimes of testing, the equivalent of 24,000 hours of flight testing on the Conventional Take-Off and Landing variant of the airframe and Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants at Brough.
BAE Systems Structural and Dynamic Test operations manager Andy Prendergast said: "Reaching two complete lifetimes of testing is an important milestone for our structural test facility at Brough, and demonstrates the proven endurance of the F-35 airframe.
"We have pushed the testing to the limits, ensuring that the F-35 Lightning II aircraft will fly safely and effectively throughout its lifetime of service.
"We will further qualify this by starting a third lifetime of testing."
The F-35 is currently under development in three versions.
It combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility. It comes with fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
With capabilities to securely share information with allied commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground, the F-35 will enable pilots to be six to eight times more effective in air-to-air missions, air-to-ground missions and surveillance missions, the company claims.
The aircraft is expected to achieve full operational capability with the air force by 2021 or 2022.