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JET TEST PHASE ENDS.

Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Lockheed Martin completed testing of Air Force requirements for the joint strike fighter program, throwing in a flight that broke the sound barrier for good measure.

Lockheed Martin's X-35A wrapped up the Air Force requirements portion of its test program with two flights Wednesday, the company said. The aircraft will now undergo about four months of modifications in preparation for tests aimed at meeting Marine Corps requirements.

Prior to wrapping up the Air Force portion, the X-35A had one flight that reached a top speed of Mach 1.05, or roughly 700 mph. The flight was flown by Lockheed Martin test pilot Tom Morgenfeld on Tuesday afternoon.

``This is another example of our flight test program exceeding even our own expectations,'' C.T. ``Tom'' Burbage, executive vice president and general manager of the Lockheed Martin JSF program, said in an announcement. ``All our flights have demonstrated great performance.''

The X-35A will be fitted with a shaft-driven lift-fan propulsion system and renamed the X-35B. It will begin ground testing in preparation for its short takeoff/vertical landing demonstrations in the spring.

Earlier Tuesday, on the X-35A's 24th flight, Morgenfeld made six carrier landing practice demonstrations, previewing the aircraft's low-speed carrier approach handling qualities in advance of upcoming tests with Lockheed Martin's second demonstrator aircraft, the X-35C.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing will each flight-test two aircraft to prove technologies desired by the Air Force, Navy and Marines. The flight tests will last approximately a year and will be split 50-50 between Edwards Air Force Base, where the testing started, and the Navy's flight test center in Maryland.

The two companies are competing for what is the largest aircraft acquisition program in the history of the Pentagon. The program calls for more than 3,000 aircraft to be bought for the U.S. military and for the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 23, 2000
Words:318
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