Lockheed's jet fighter passes real stress test.

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Lockheed Martin's second X-35 concept demonstrator aircraft for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has successfully completed structural loads testing at company facilities in Palmdale, GA.

"The structural testing verifies the X-35's ability to withstand the rigors of flight testing," says Frank J Cappuccio, VP and program manager for the Lockheed Martin JSF. "This test is even more significant when you consider that the X-35 will demonstrate the actual flight handling characteristics of our proposed operational configuration, thereby truly demonstrating our 'fly-before-buy' commitment to the customer."

A test fixture with 90 hydraulic actuators applied stresses to different parts of the airplane to simulate in-flight aerodynamic pressure loads on the aircraft. The aircraft tested is the X-35C, which is configured as the US Navy carrier variant and is the second demonstrator aircraft assembled.

Because the different variants are structurally very similar, the load-test results apply to all three concept demonstrator variants.

The aircraft was tested to 100% of design limit load--minus 3 gs and plus S gs. This means the wings were stressed to carry about 180,000 lb, or the weight of 50 mid-size automobiles. Test conditions also included wing torsional testing that represents aircraft rolling maneuvers.

Proof-of-operations tests confirmed...

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