The Lockheed Martin F-35B has completed wet runway and crosswind testing, which comprised 37 missions over a 41 day period using aircraft BF-4.

“This testing is absolutely critical to 2B flight software fleet release and the Marine Corps’ [initial operating capability],” says J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin's vice president for F-35 Test & Verification.

“Collectively, the results support clearing the 20 knot crosswind envelope for conventional take off & landings, short take offs, and short landings , with ideal handling quality ratings and meaningful improvement over legacy 4th generational fighter aircraft.”

The work with the short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft was conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Lockheed adds that other aircraft in the test programme have achieved milestones. CF-1, a naval F-35C variant, and AF-4, a conventional take-off and landing F-35A variant, each achieved 500 flight hours. In addition, CF-5, another F-35C, achieved 100 flight hours.