HOVER TESTING of the Lockheed Martin Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) model started at the NASA Ames Research Center in California on 10 July.

The 86%-scale model is being tested at NASA's outside aerodynamic reference site, which will evaluate jet thrust, airframe "suckdown", hot-gas ingestion and ground pressures and temperatures.

The Pratt & Whitney F100-220 plus-powered model is suspended from the ground by grabs attached to large hooks on the aircraft's upper fuselage.

Hover testing will be followed by windtunnel tests of transition from hover to conventional wing-borne flight in NASA's 24 x 36m windtunnel in September. The tests build on earlier evaluation of the combined propulsion system, which includes an Allison Engines fan for lift. The current tests will show how the lift jets from the propulsion system affect the aerodynamic forces acting on the aircraft during hover and the transition to conventional flight.

Boeing's 96%-scale JAST model is meanwhile being readied for the move from the Defense and Space Group's Kent site in Washington to the new, purpose-built, test site at nearby Tulalip. Tests are due to start by the end of July and are scheduled to run through to mid-October.

Source: Flight International