F-35 RCS Acceptance Test Facility
Lockheed Martin, Ft. Worth, Texas
To assess the performance of the completed F-35 Acceptance Test Facility, Lockheed asked The Howland Company to perform field probe measurements. We designed a high-accuracy, 50-foot tower probe system with motion control and RF subsystems which interface with the measurement system’s instrumentation radar. We also delivered a custom data reduction and analysis software package developed by CompuQuest. We completed an extensive set of vertical and horizontal scans at both vertical and horizontal polarizations and 256 frequencies. Using the field probe data and CompuQuest’s analysis software, Lockheed’s engineers were able to confirm that the measurement system is performing well within the parameters required for F-35 RCS imaging tests.
In October 2010, Lockheed accomplished a major milestone with the testing of airframe AF-03, the second F-35A with full mission systems, in the Acceptance Test Facility (left and center). In May 2011, airframe CF-03, the first ‘fully loaded’ F-35C, was measured (right). The HALO radar signature test model was measured in the ATF in 2009.
The JASDF released photographs showing the first F-35 built for Japan, aircraft AX-1, inside the Acceptance Test Facility. The first four F-35s of the 42 currently planned for the Japanese military are being built in the Fort Worth assembly plant. The rest will be built at the FACO at Mitsubishi’s Nagoya facility. The Howland Company has supported Lockheed Martin at both the Ft Worth and Nagoya RCS facilities, as well as the Italian F-35 FACO in Cameri.