Norway has commenced trials of a brake parachute equipped F-35 stealth fighter, an exclusive feature for countries with extreme winter climate.
The brake parachute will enable the fifth generation fighter to reduce speed faster and land safely during adverse weather conditions like low temperature, strong winds, poor visibility and slippery/wet runways.
This special feature will be standard on Norwegian and Dutch F-35 fighter jets, who are jointly funding the development and integration costs.
All testing will be conducted using the AF-2 aircraft, a specially instrumented F-35 flight science aircraft which have been installed with a drogue parachute.
The testing which will continue until spring 2018, is divided into two phases.The first stage from Edwards Air Force Base in California will test how the aircraft behaves in the air fitted with the drogue parachute, and on dry and wet runways.The second phase from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska will carry out tests on icy runways.
Modification to the aircraft include reinforcing the parts of the fuselage to sustain the enormous braking force of the drogue parachute and structural modification to house the system on the dorsal fuselage, between the two canted tail fins.
The testing involve three test pilots from Lockheed Martin, the US Air Force and Norway, along with a large team of engineers from Norway, F-35 Joint Program Office and Edwards Air Force Base.
Norway expects to qualify and integrate the system on its F-35s, the first of which are expected to arrive at Ørland Main Air Station in November 2017.
Norway has so far authorized the procurement of 28 F-35As out of a planned 52, with four aircraft already delivered and carrying out training flights in U.S.