Air Force F-35A Makes First Nighttime Flight
April 3, 2014 10:34 AM
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Marine and Navy pilots took first night flights in January
An F-35A fighter took off from Eglin Air Force Base on its first nighttime training mission late last month. Prior to this flight, the Air Force version of the advanced fighter was prohibited from operating at night or during adverse weather.
One of the issues which prohibited nighttime flights involved symbols displayed to the pilot that traditionally differ between the Air Force and Navy/Marines versions of aircraft. The Air Force has a different airworthiness authority,
, than the
standards already incorporated into the F-35 night systems.
[Image Source: Lockheed Martin]
“Back in [training] the displays the pilots were looking at were confusing to Air Force pilots but not confusing to Navy and Marine Corps pilots because a lot of the symbology was of Navy origin," described Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan.
To get around this issue, the Air Force trained 15 pilots on simulators at Elgin and at the plant in Ft. Worth until the Air Force was sure its pilots were ready for night operations.
Despite the recent good news that
South Korea chose the F-35
as its next generation fighter, there are still lingering fears that software delays could continue to set the program back.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/3/2014 2:33:34 PM
Much of what you say is true, but the F-15 and F-16 have both had block upgrades over time. So the electronics in them isn't as antiquated as you are suggesting. That said, it is time for a new generation of fighter attack aircraft.
I do have an issue that the program is way over budget. These cost plus contracts just don't do any good for anyone other than the manufacture(s). The pentagon needs a system to better control the costs of their programs. Much of this is mission bloat; everyone wants their pet feature in the finished product. I do understand how complex the systems are and that their will always be issues with systems integration, but the F-22 and the F-35 are truly out of control. The F-35 was supposed to be the "cheap" work horse fighter.
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