LOCKHEED MARTIN F-35 COMPLETES FIRST GROUND TAXI TEST
FORT WORTH, Texas, 08-DEC-06 --
The F-35 Lightning II moved under its own power for the first time on Thursday afternoon, initiating the last series of tests before the fighter jet’s first flight.
The first F-35 Lightning II taxis along the runway at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 7. The test initiated the last round of evaluations before the jet's first flight, and marked the first time the aircraft moved under its own power.
F-35 Lightning II taxis along the runway (JPG, 4.78 MB High-Resolution Photo)
After a series of systems checks at Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] in Fort Worth, F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley advanced the throttle and the F-35 moved out of its hangar to begin taxi tests. The jet then traveled at up to 30 knots (~ 35 m.p.h.) on the runway, testing systems such as brakes and nosewheel steering in advance of first flight. Medium-speed taxi tests of 65 knots (~ 75 m.p.h.) and 80 knots (~ 92 m.p.h.) are planned next, weather permitting. The first Lightning II is powered by the Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan, the most powerful engine ever installed in a fighter aircraft.
The stealthy F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5TH Generation fighter designed to replace a wide range of existing aircraft, including AV-8B Harriers, A-10s, F-16s, F/A-18 Hornets and United Kingdom Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 Lightning II with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.