The primary objective of this program is Initial Flight Release (IFR) altitude qualification testing in support of attaining approval to begin flight testing. While the majority of this testing addresses performance and operability, secondary objectives include failure detection and accommodation (FDA) validation, as well as obtaining structural and internal environmental data.
“This testing is a transitional part of the overall F135 program,” said John Kelly, one of the ATA project engineers on this program. “Flight testing is dependant on the testing we are doing in C-1. Without this testing, flight testing cannot begin.”
F-35 prototypes are scheduled to fly next year with the F135, so things are tight.
If you missed the discussion concerning Britain’s troubled role in the Joint Strike Fighter program, be sure to go check it out.
And if you’ve got the bandwidth, JSF.mil has a selection of engine test videos (from various points in development) available for your enjoyment.