The 461st Flight Test Squadron and F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., received two additional F-35As to support continued developmental testing March 7.
The fifth-generation fighters are on loan from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
“Air Combat Command, always a supporter of developmental flight test, recognized a small shortfall and volunteered these aircraft to help support the joint, integrated test team and ultimately the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, 461st FLTS commander and F-35 ITF director. “These aircraft are here to support F-35 Mission System Development and will help augment the current F-35 DT fleet.”
Hamilton added that since F-35 capability is based on the integration of multiple F-35s while airborne, these assets bolster the team’s ability to collect vital data. Additionally, the new jets are already integrated with special instrumentation pods needed in flight testing, which allows them to be of immediate support.
The 461st FLTS at Edwards Air Force Base oversees developmental testing of all variants of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II.