After a depressing month for Lockheed Martin and their plagued F-35 program some welcome good news came out of Fort Worth, Texas after the Lockheed Martin F-35B recently completed it’s required wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The testing required the aircraft to operate its short take off and vertical landing capability in a 20 knot crosswind and on a wet surface which is essential for when the aircraft is operating at sea such as aboard the new British carriers. The aircraft used was BF-4 and the results have been described as being far superior to current 4th generation aircraft.
Group Captain Paul Godfrey, the Royal Air Force officer responsible for entry into service of the aircraft, which will be known in the UK as Lightning II said: ‘’The achievement of yet another important milestone within the F-35B programme continues to cement the foundations of the UK Initial Operating Capability in 2018. Although crosswind limits and runway conditions do not often get attention outside of specialist forums, the ability to be able to land and take off in a range of weathers is critical to the operational capability of the aircraft. To be at this level early in the development of the aircraft is a huge step forward and has already surpassed legacy STOVL aircraft limitations, which is testament to the next-generation flight control software on the F-35 and the ease of operation for the pilot.’’
(Quote sourced from http://www.raf.mod.uk)