First F-35 with latest Technology Refresh takes off
The test pilot verified the aircraft’s airworthiness and system stability during a 50-minute functional check flight (FCF).
During the try-out, the F-35 reached 35,000 feet at just under the speed of sound.
The USAF said developmental and operational test flights will continue throughout 2023 to ensure the safety and warfighting capability of the TR-3 configuration.
Lt Gen Mike Schmidt, Program Executive Officer at the F-35 Joint Program Office said: ‘TR-3 is the F-35’s critical computer processing electronics upgrade that will continue to provide all our pilots with the capability they need to be successful against any adversary.
‘There is still a lot of work to do and I am confident that our industry partners and government team will get the job done.’
TR-3 provides computational power to support modernised Block 4 capabilities for the fifth-generation jet, including new sensor suites, more long-range precision weapons, improved electronic warfare features, more powerful data fusion, and increased cross-platform interoperability.
These capabilities will enable pilots to identify, track, engage and survive against advanced air, ground and cyber threats.
The delivery of jets with TR-3 to customers will began soon as the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin finalised a contract for the production and delivery of up to 398 F-35 jets for $30 billion.
The agreement includes US DoD, international partner and Foreign Military Sales aircraft in Lots 15 and 16, with an option for Lot 17.
Lockheed Martin said Lots 15-17 will be the first jets to include the TR-3 configuration.
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