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While we have seen glimpses of how the F-35B—the short take-off vertical landing variant of the F-35 Lightning II—works, here's an amazingly detailed video showing its transforming capabilities in flight, which was posted anonymously in YouTube last week. According to Flight Global, this sophisticated war machine—which is now in its testing phase—won't see real action any time soon, as its engine is getting redesigned turbine blades. Update: one of the authors of the—apparently previously classified—video sends us more detailed information about what this really is.
The video was done two years ago for Northrop Grumman. Our reader was one of the three people who did it and he's quite surprised to find it online, since it is under NDA.
The one depicted is the X-35 [the prototype that won the contract for the Joint Strike Fighter and became the F-35]. I don’t know who posted it on YouTube, but the level of NDA’s was substantial where we were not even allowed to showcase it on our demo reel.
My guess is that, since the cat has been out of the bag for a long time, the NDA is no longer applicable. [Flight Global]
Originally posted by Zaphod58
It's a CGI video of the X-35 that was used in the competition for the contract award. The F-35B first flew this year, and hasn't done any hover tests. They've run the engine, the've pivoted the engine, they've tested the lift fan and hover mechanism, but it hasn't done any of that in flight. They've gone as far as opening the doors to the lift fans and making sure that they work in flight. Hover pit testing starts around March of 2009. That will slowly lead to high altitude hover testing later in the year or early in 2010.