June 26, 2022
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F-35 completes weapon load test
The F-35B Lightning II third developmental test phase (DT-III) aboard amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) reached a new milestone as the program completed weapons load testing recently. The test plan featured a broad array of milestones, which included shipboard launch and recovery expansion test points focused on the evaluation of flying qualities at various aircraft weights, in particular in regard to crosswinds, sink rates, and high sea states. Additionally, the DT-III weapons team evaluated ordnance separation tests and live-fire tests. The DT-III weapons team conducted the load tests on land prior to embarking on America. The team tested all of the takeoff and landing worst-case scenarios and endpoints. The F-35B DT-III pilots purposely conducted test flights under various unfavorable environmental conditions to test the aircraft’s limitations and capabilities.