“The critical design reviews for the F-35 conventional takeoff and landing and short takeoff and vertical landing variants are complete,” noted Marc Skelley, Defense Department project manager at Arnold Engineering Development Center.
“The next step is the critical design reviews for the carrier variant, where the program office approves the final design and the airplane moves into production,” he said.
“We’re tailing off on the end of our Joint Strike Fighter wind tunnel testing,” Skelley said. “The unique part of loads testing is that we put hundreds of pressure taps all over the fuselage, the wings and tail – to get a pressure distribution of the load acting on all of the vehicle’s surfaces.”
“Lockheed analysts take that data and use it to design the structure of the aircraft,” he explained. “The next and last test in this series is tentatively scheduled for later this year.”
“That one and the few other wind tunnel tests remaining will allow the Lockheed team to build that final aerodynamic database,” Skelley concluded.