EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A Team Eglin bomb modification effort helped complete critical F-35 Lightning II weapons system testing last year. The flight-testing efforts were recognized with a Daedalian award on January 12.
The F-35 Dual Capable Aircraft Team, part of the joint program office at Edwards AFB, California, recently received the 2020 Daedalian Franklin C. Wolfe Weapons Systems Award for their efforts with the F-35A B61-12 weapons integration and flight testing.
“A big part of the weapons test and development mission on Eglin is to support programs like the F-35 dual capable aircraft program,” said Nick Sims, the F-35 WIPT Weapons GFE Acquisition Lead, highlighting Eglin’s part in the success.
“A lot of times, assigned personnel never hear or see the end result of their efforts to support weapons integration/test efforts.”
The 96th Maintenance Group, the 780th Test Squadron and Air Force Research Lab’s Munitions Directorate directly contributed to the effort long before the fifth-generation fighter ever took off for the first flight test.
The team modified 16 BDU-38s to create expendable test assets which mimic the properties of the B61-12 for separation flight tests.
Team Eglin was called upon because they completed the same modification of BDU-38s into B61-12s in 2012.
To modify the BDU-38 into a B61-12 required the teams to perform measurements, make complex engineering changes, manufacture components, assemble and paint before shipping the bombs to meet JPO’s timeline.
The flight test series that this modification enabled put the F-35 on track to be certified to use the B61-12.
“It is really rewarding when we are able to pull off a complex effort like this working across so many different organizations both on and off installation. With this single effort, we had experts from seven different offices working synergistically to meet the customers’ needs so the program could stay on schedule,” said Michelle Moody, test programming engineer for the B61-12 modification effort.
“It is a testament to the knowledge, perseverance and attention to detail of the professionals I have the pleasure of working with every day.”
By Samuel King Jr.