Boeing completes JSF X-32B structural mode tests
12 December 2000http://defence-data.com/storypic/jsfboex32.jpg [not image]
Boeing has completed structural mode interaction (SMI) testing of its X-32B concept demonstrator, moving a step closer to first flight. During SMI testing, the aircraft's flight control surfaces are moved at varying frequencies. This evaluation ensures special filters added to the flight control system are functioning properly to prevent vibration in other aircraft components.
The X-32B, which is expected to fly during the first quarter of 2001, will validate the Boeing direct-lift approach to short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) flight, one of three customer requirements in the Concept Demonstration Phase of the program.
"Completion of the SMI tests is another positive step as we continue to validate our design," said Katy Fleming, Boeing JSF system test director. "We're making great progress; these tests reduce risk and help confirm that we are ready to begin a safe and productive X-32B flight-test program."
Conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) SMI test points were completed last month with similar positive results. In late September, Boeing completed the first phase of STOVL engine runs in the X-32B aircraft. High power conventional and STOVL engine runs are expected to begin later this month.
The US Marine Corps and the UK's Royal Air Force and Navy are expected to be the primary STOVL Joint Strike Fighter users.
Boeing is competing with Lockheed Martin to build the JSF under a four-year concept demonstration phase contract with the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the British Royal Air Force and Navy. A competition winner is scheduled to be selected in 2001.
REF XQQAS XQQAR