Norway has completed the first in-country test of a braking parachute on a Lockheed Martin F-35A, with the trial taking place on 16 February at Ørland air base.

"Our combat aircraft must be able to land during extreme Norwegian winter conditions, and Norway, with experience in this, will help develop and test the F-35 braking parachute," says Norway's F-35 programme director, Gen Morten Klever.

Test and certification activities for the modification began in April at Edwards AFB in California, using test aircraft AF-2, initially checking handling characteristics and braking performance on wet and dry runways.

A second phase is under way at Eielson AFB, Alaska to validate performance on icy runways.

"I am very pleased that we are on track with the last part of the Alaska testing, and have now verified that the system works as it should on the planes that have come to Ørland," says Klever.

He says the F-35A is more stable during deployment of the braking parachute than the F-16s it is replacing, partly because of its wider footprint and heavier weight.

"This is a big step towards ensuring that our new combat aircraft can operate safely in extreme Norwegian weather conditions," says Klever.

Further test activities are required before the system achieves final certification. Norway is the lead customer for the modification, with development activities also part-funded by the Netherlands.