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F-35 developmental testers surge toward IOC

  • Published
  • By Christopher Ball
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Edwards Air Force Base is famous for aviation firsts, but the F-35 Developmental Test team recently achieved the opposite, an aviation last.

The Block 3F version of the F-35A and F-35C are one step closer to initial operating capability with the last weapons delivery accuracy (WDA) surge completed in early August.

The term surge is used because the F-35 weapons testing required a great deal of assets and personnel dedicated for a short period of time, according to Torrey Given, a weapons integration engineer with the 461st Flight Test Squadron.

“This allowed us to accomplish multiple events over the course of a handful of days,” he said.

Given, who has been with the F-35 project since the beginning, from flight science all the way through the WDA testing, said this round of testing could be called a mini surge, as there were only a handful of events that needed to be completed.

“This was kind of a cleanup, or a closeout, of (System Development and Demonstration). It’s the closeout of JSF developmental test for Block 3F, which is a big deal because it’s for Air Force IOC, and Navy IOC,” he said.

“We were able to accomplish some complex air-to-air demonstrations with the (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) in order to show the full capability of the aircraft,” Given said.

The AMRAAM missiles were equipped with live motors and guidance systems, but the warheads were exchanged for telemetry units, and the tests were done over the open water range at Naval Air Weapons Station Point Mugu in Ventura County, California.

Given said most everything we do at Edwards Air Force Base is an aviation first, in some way, shape or form.

“I like to think of these as the last for Developmental Test,” he said. “This is like our graduation exercise before we hand the aircraft off to the operational test organizations so they can go prove it’s ready for combat. That’s very significant for us.”

He said the critical piece is the wrap-up of System Development and Demonstration, which has been a long time coming.

“For some of us, this has been roughly eight years working on F-35 to get to where it is operationally viable,” Given said.

There is a single WDA event remaining for 3F, which marks the completion for all three variants and will pave the way to the declaration of IOC for all F-35s.

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.