In Moses Lake Flight Test Center

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program’s Cooperative Avionics Test Bed aircraft landed here March 1 to perform equipment fit checks and verify the operation of Edwards facilities built specifically for the CATB.

The CATB is a Boeing 737-300 specially modified to perform mission systems testing for the F-35 program.

“It is a six-year program that will test all the F-35 systems at once for early risk reduction,” said Mark Burke, CATB project manager. “Testing will be performed at various locations including Fort Worth (Texas), Eglin (Air Force Base, Fla.), Edwards, China Lake (Naval Air Station, Calif.) and Point Mugu (NAS, Calif). The tests will enable us to find avionics problems early and reduce the workload on the F-35. If there is a hardware or software problem, we will find it early.”

One flight on the CATB saves the F-35 an estimated four flights, Mr. Burke said. The avionics-test-bed flights will save the F-35 from flying about 300 missions.