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AF-2, the seventh Lockheed Martin F-35 flight test aircraft, flew for the first time on April 20. The aircraft’s main test role will be validating the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant’s weapons suite. Piloted by F-35 test pilot Jeff Knowles, AF-2 took off at 5:27 p.m. CDT from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and flew for one hour. AF-2 will be used to test both internal and external weapons throughout the flight envelope, and is the first F-35 to have the internal GAU-22/A 25-millimeter gun system installed. The system, featuring a four-barrel Gatling gun which fires at a rate of 3,000 rounds per minute, is made by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products in Burlington, Vermont.(Lockheed Martin)Lockheed Martin adds that tests on the GAU-22/A will confirm predictions of gun vibration, acoustic and recoil loads with the aircraft and various weapons. AF-2 will also be used to test vibro-acoustic loads with the weapons-bay doors open and closed with various weapon configurations.
ar99, LockheedMartin, F-35A, GeneralDynamics
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