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F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

The UK Royal Navy’s new F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has successfully completed extreme temperature tests in a climatic laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, US.

In addition to being subjected to temperatures ranging from 120°F to -40°F, the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft was tested in wind, solar radiation, fog, humidity, rain, freezing rain, icing cloud and snow.

F-35 test pilot Billie Flynn said: "While we are testing in the world’s largest climatic testing chamber, we are pushing the F-35 to its environmental limits.

"To this point, the aircraft’s performance is meeting expectations. It has flown in more than 100° heat while also flying in bitter sub-zero temperatures.

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"In its final days of testing, it will fly through ice and other conditions such as driving rain with hurricane force winds."

"We are pushing the F-35 to its environmental limits."

The US Air Force 96th Test Wing’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory supports all-weather testing of weapon systems.

McKinley Climatic Laboratory technical chief Dwayne Bell said: "We have designed an environment here at the chamber where we can simulate virtually any weather condition, all while flying the jet at full power in either conventional or vertical take-off mode.

The F-35 JSF is scheduled to be deployed on the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

Image: F-35B JSF during extreme temperature tests. Photo: courtesy of the UK Royal Navy.