|X-35C Breaks Sound Barrier, Completes Tanker Tests |
X-35C Breaks Sound Barrier, Completes Tanker Tests
Edwards Air Force Base, California – February 5, 2001 (AFPN) -- Lockheed Martin's X-35C Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrator began a series of supersonic envelope-expansion flights Jan. 31, en route to breaking the speed of sound.
Test pilot Joe Sweeney took Lockheed Martin's X-35C Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrator to Mach 1.05 and Mach 1.1 on Jan. 31 over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The aircraft will be moving to Naval Air Station Paxtuxent River, Md., later this month for further testing.
Photo by Tom Reynolds
In two separate flights, test pilot Joe Sweeney climbed to 25,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.05, then to Mach 1.10. The flights are the first in a series designed to test the X-35C at increasingly higher supersonic speeds.
"Pushing the envelope past Mach 1 in an aircraft that is essentially identical to our proposed production Joint Strike Fighter enables us to know today how the future production plane will handle at supersonic speeds," said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin JSF program general manager. "It's a very important exercise in risk reduction, and reducing technical risk is the cornerstone of our flight-test program."
The X-35C also completed tanker qualification trials recently with a series of air-to-air refuelings behind a KC-10A extender. Naval probe-and-drogue refueling demonstrations are scheduled during the aircraft's testing period at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.