Drag chute pods for Norwegian F-35s

An impression of the drag chute pod on top of the F-35 fuselage. (Image © Lockheed Martin)
An impression of the drag chute pod on top of the F-35 fuselage. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

Norwegian F-35A Lightning II aircraft will have a feature that sets them apart from any other F-35 worldwide, according to a report in Lockheed Martin’s Code One Magazine. The F-35s in Norway will be equipped with a drag chute that assists in braking on the often icy and snowy Scandinavian runways.

The drag chute system will be housed in a pod that is attached on top of the aft fuselage, just ahead of the engine exhaust. The pod is specifically designed to minimize effect on radar cross section (‘stealth’) and the aircraft’s aerodynamics.

Development of the system began back in 2012. Wind tunnel experiments were part of testing and further verification and certification for operational use, will be done during flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, starting in 2017.

Norway is expected to order 52 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft, along with 52 drag chute pods. A contract for the first two aircraft was signed in September 2013 for the cost of 98 million USD per plane. Norwegian parliament last agreed to the first purchases up to 16 F-35s. Norwegian company Kongsberg is developing the Joint Strike Missile for integration in the F-35.

Oslo is pushing Lockheed Martin for delivery of the first F-35s in 2015. It is therefore safe to say the drag chute pods will be added to those aircraft at a later stage. Norwegian F-16s have been using drag chutes for ages, and the design was also installed on Dutch F-16s afterwards. Taiwanese F-16s also have the drag chute modification.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

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