Tracking F-35 Progress

Despite delays that have plagued the F-35 strike fighter program, prime contractor Lockheed Martin said it’s tracking ahead of schedule so far this year with the aircraft’s flight testing. Through May 31, there were a total of 378 test flights of all three F-35 variants versus the 297 planned by that date, according to a company release. These flights accomplished 3,342 test points, far more than the 2,217 called for during this period, said Lockheed. Air Force F-35A aircraft flew 183 times during the first five months of the year. USAF test aircraft AF-1 reached Mach 1.53 during one flight, the fastest speed yet for the F-35 fleet. AF-7, an F-35A production aircraft, completed a 4.1-hour test mission, the longest duration sortie for an F-35 thus far.