F-35 fighter jet undergoes equipment testing at Alaska base
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An F-35 fighter jet landed at Eielson Air Force Base to undergo testing on the aircraft’s ability to operate in cold conditions, according to a statement released by the U.S. Airforce.
The F-35A Lightning II that arrived on Thursday was the first to land at the base near Fairbanks. Up to 54 of these aircraft will be stationed at Eielson along with about 3,500 airmen, civilian employees, contractors and military family members by 2020, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
The aircraft will undergo testing on its ability to land on icy runways, and its drag chute modification will also be evaluated.
Air Force officials plan to demonstrate through the testing that F-35s are capable of landing in environments designated as Runway Condition Reading 7. A dry runway is designated as a reading of 23, and a reading of 5 is comparable to landing on ice. The aircraft is currently certified to land at a reading of 12.
The drag chute is a modification that has been requested by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, a partner of the F-35 program. A Norwegian test pilot will fly the jet to demonstrate the modification that aims to help the aircraft land in Arctic conditions.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com