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First F-35 with latest Technology Refresh takes off

12th January 2023 - 12:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


F-35s produced in Lots 15-17 will be the first jets to include the Technology Refresh 3 configuration. (Photo: US DoD)

The US Air Force has successfully tested the first F-35 jet with the latest Technology Refresh, the modernised hardware needed to power Block 4 capabilities.

The USAF's 461st Flight Test Squadron conducted the first flight of an F-35 in Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) configuration on 6 January at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

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.

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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.

The Shephard News Team


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