Lockheed Martin is testing one of the most unique modifications to the F-35 Lightning II on icy runways on Eielson AFB, Alaska, this month.
US Air Force test pilots are testing that the drag chute, a modification spearheaded by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, slows the aircraft to a stop on icy runways near the Arctic circle, Lockheed says.
The certification process will continue over the next several weeks.
The first phase of testing will examine how the F-35A operates in extreme, icy conditions. The second phase, slated for the first quarter of 2018, will deploy the drag chute during landing operations. Earlier this spring, Norway completed initial wet and dry runway deployment testing at Edwards AFB, California.
Most foreign variants of the F-35 are identical to the US design, but Norway and the Netherlands will mount a fairing for the drag chute between the fighter's twin, canted vertical tails, providing supplementary breaking in runway icing conditions.
Last December, the Netherlands announced the Dutch government would pay Norway NOK96 million ($11.4 million) to develop the F-35’s brake chute.
The Netherlands’ cost share would allow Norwegian government to redirect those funds to cover general expenses related to the Norwegian acquisition of the F-35, FlightGlobal reported.
The Netherlands has only committed to preparing aircraft for the drag chute mounting and the initial contribution covers the development of the modification.