Norway has begun testing of the braking parachute it will employ on its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35As.
Initial efforts at Edwards AFB in California will focus on how the Joint Strike Fighter handles with the parachute fitted, as well as braking on both dry and wet runways. A later phase, running until early 2018 at Eielson AFB in Alaska, will evaluate its performance on icy runways.
All trials will be performed with test aircraft AF-2, the Norwegian defence ministry says.
It is sharing the development and integration costs for the system with the Netherlands, which is also acquiring the conventional take-off and landing F-35A.
Modifications include strengthening the fuselage and adapting the aircraft to house the parachute between the two tailfins.
Olso cites the extreme weather conditions its aircraft typically operate in – which include low temperatures, strong winds, poor visibility and slippery runways – as key reasons for needing the parachute.
“Being able to operate fighter aircraft under varying weather conditions is critical for our operational capability,” says defence minister Øystein Bø.
The first F-35 will arrive in Norway in November 2017, the ministry says.