The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter team has successfully completed structural-coupling testing and moved on to the next scheduled series of ground tests.
The testing concluded on April 2 and measured the aircraft’s structural response to specific flight-control movements. “”Flight controls can move very rapidly and generate very large forces that must be passed through the aircraft structure; for every action there is a reaction,”” said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin vice president of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. “”Therefore, we need to know exactly how the aircraft structure reacts to a given dynamic flight-control input.””
During structural-coupling testing, a wide range of specific flight-control movements are initiated using the on-board aircraft flight-control system. Based on the data collected during the testing, engineers can tune the flight-control system to eliminate responses that could potentially damage the aircraft’s composite structure.
“”All of the test results were within the expected range – an excellent indication we thoroughly understand the flight-control system and the aircraft’s structural response to flight-control inputs,”” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and JSF program general manager.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The F-35’s first flight is planned for this autumn.
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