F-35 AA-1 retired to live-fire slaughter

Lockheed Martin confirms its original flight test aircraft for the F-35, barely three years old, has been officially retired. The AA-1 flight test article, overweight by 5,000lb compared to the current design, is parked at China Lake Naval Air Station following its 91st sortie. It will soon start a second, unfortunately brief career as a live-fire target, allowing the F-35 to complete a few more test points at the expense of AA-1′s rightful place as a museum centerpiece.  

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6 Responses to F-35 AA-1 retired to live-fire slaughter

  1. Rene Rosales 23 December, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    [Advance note: I do NOT want the answer the following rhetorical question, at least an accurate one, in respect of our OPSEC and technology]

    I’m sure this idea isn’t original: I hope that they try to fire radar and IR-guided weapons (hopefully um “eastern bloc” examples at it first to assess the F-35′s resistance to tracking from the on-board seeker head for these weapons, i.e. AA-10/12/R-77 etc. Would be nice if we could hijack an S-300/S-400 unit too and try track/fire.

    Although I suspect the test is more to see how the a/c design/structure holds up to physical damage i.e. fragmentation/incendiary etc, wouldn’t it be efficient to try a seeker-head trackability test first?

    And if I they do this, I hope a. none of it is made public knowledge for a long time and b. that the LO profile is as effective as advertised.

    Rene Rosales

  2. Robert 23 December, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    i too am puzzled why they would want to blow up the AA1 when it could serve a better purpose in museum.

  3. alloycowboy 24 December, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    What a waste! You could so many other things with this aircraft? Why destroy it? If I was an American tax payer I would be really upset. But considering what is going on right now in the US senate, clandestine meetings in the middle of the night just to pass a health care bill, it’s no suprise they are going to shoot up a half billion dollar airplane.

  4. Bern 25 December, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    What concerns me more about this test, is that they’re doing live-fire durability on an airframe that isn’t representative of the post-weight-reduction structure.

    Surely they’re going to need to do live-fire testing on an airframe that’s the same (or similar to) the full-rate-production airframe?

  5. ArmyVET 31 December, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    BLOW it UP!!! DAM Chnia stealing everything but the drawls on your ass.

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