While the US Air Force is completing another round of cold-weather testing of the F-35A at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, Norway completed a successful verification of the F-35 drag chute system at Ørland Air Force Base in Norway on February 16th. The F-35 chute is housed under a small fairing on the upper rear fuselage between the vertical tails. This system is unique to the Norwegian F-35 aircraft.
“Receiving the first three aircraft in November 2017 was a major milestone for Norway. The program delivers on all key criteria: Time, cost and performance. Through the verification of the production version of the drag chute on our production model of the F-35, the weapons system is expected to fully qualify for arctic conditions this spring“, says Major General Morten Klever, Program Director for the F-35 program in Norway’s Ministry of Defence.
The chute, unique to the Norwegian aircraft, is housed under a small fairing on the upper rear fuselage between the vertical tails. It is being added in order to rapidly decelerate Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35s after landing on the country’s icy runways when there are challenging wind conditions. The F-35A drag chute is designed and is form fitted to ensure it maintains stealth characteristics while flying. Other countries with the F-35 may adopt the system.
“Lockheed Martin is pleased with the successful first-time deployment of the drag-chute system on an operational RNoAF F-35A in Norway. This effort is the culmination of many years of design, testing, production and sustainment of the system by Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. and Norwegian governments,” said Art Sheridan, Lockheed Martin Drag Chute System Program Manager. Sheridan also noted that the first drag-chute deployment on an icy runway was accomplished on the same day by the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Eielson AFB, Alaska.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force had three aircraft delivered to Norway, Ørland in November 2017. From 2018, Norway will receive six aircraft annually up until and include 2024. The plans for Norway is to procure up to 52 F-35A to replace its fleet of ageing F-16s. Norway has also seven F-35A stealth fighters based at Luke Air Force Base used for Norwegian and the others partner pilot training.
Source and photo credits: Lockheed Martin, Royal Norwegian Air Force – Morten Hanche/Forsvaret