Speaking with reporters at AFA’s Air and Space conference Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Charles Davis said he’s confident that the first F-35 Lightning II test flight will be off the ground before the year is out. The new F-35 program manager indicated that the aircraft just ran a full afterburner engine test in Dallas this week, which he said helped give him a better idea as to what can be accomplished in the near term. Testing crews cranked up the aircraft’s integrated power package to run on afterburner within 11 days, a bit of a milestone for a fifth generation fighter, said Davis, adding that crews have learned a lot about the aircraft the more they work with it. “You don’t want to fly it just to make a date,” Davis said of the first flight—which was pushed back a few months from earlier this year. “I’m sure the [ground crews] could say they could do it in November, but we’re tempering their enthusiasm a bit,” Davis quipped, noting that he’s expecting the fighter to lift off by the end of November or the beginning of December at the latest.
March 4, 2024
The Air Force has published images of an operational hypersonic Air-Launched Rapid-Response Weapon (ARRW) in Guam; a disclosure possibly meant to send a message to China but which raises questions about the future of the ARRW, which the Air Force insists it is not planning to procure in quantity.