The US Air Force’s (USAF) Nellis Base in southern Nevada has successfully completed an upgrade on its first two F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters (JSF).

Nellis AFB installed the fighters with 2B software and avionics package on-site in order to save time as the USAF pushes toward initial operational capability for the fleet.

The on-site work supported the base to focus on tactics development and training activities related to the F-35 aircraft.

Aircraft maintenance unit production superintendent master sergeant Travis Hoogstraten said: "Having only eight aircraft assigned to our unit, a 25% reduction puts the pressure on the maintainers to keep them flying.

"Upgrading our aircraft to 2B is not only essential to air force initial operating capability, but the progression of the joint F-35 programme."

With the installation of the 2B package, the F-35’s flight envelope will be expanded to include supersonic flight and more demanding manoeuvres. Moreover, it also improves pilot interface and targeting abilities.

Lockheed Martin supported the air force base to complete the first 1B-to-2B upgrade without impacting unit flying rates.
The decision to carry the work out on-site also helped to finish the work in half the time, Nellis AFB stated.

In July, the USAF F-35 JSF Integrated Test Force started the first phase of testing the F-35A aircraft’s four-barrel Gatling gun at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, US.

The trials are designed to answer questions like whether the gun door opens correctly, spins up and down correctly, is the air flows through the vent, and it is adequate to clear the flammable gasses, among others.

Image: Tthe F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters (JSF). Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.