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Testing ramp noise and durability on Lockheed Martin’s F-35

Military ground crews face high noise exposure - especially on aircraft carriers - so to protect them, Lockheed Martin characterized the acoustics of different F-35 variants, and tested their durability.

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To ensure the high performance of some of the most technologically sophisticated machines ever built, Lockheed Martin turned to Brüel & Kjær, which supplied a complete solution for acoustic characterization. F-35 components and sub-assemblies were tested using vibration test systems, to ensure durability in operation and under stress.

Challenge

The F-35 is built in three different variants, each with a unique acoustic footprint, so Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme needed to carry out acoustic testing on each one. In addition to noise challenges, extensive qualification tests were needed for durability testing, stress screening and R&D qualification testing of aircraft components and subassemblies.

Solution

The ramp noise was measured and analysed with Brüel & Kjær’s flexible data acquisition hardware and analysis software. To make the most of short testing windows, the system’s facilities for self-test and verification ensured right-first-time data capture, and high data quality for subsequent analysis. For durability testing and quality control, Lockheed Martin put the F-35’s systems through exhaustive vibration test programmes using large V9x water-cooled shakers (V984 and V994) from Brüel & Kjær.

Results

Lockheed Martin successfully acquired and analysed a large amount of data for all F-35 variants under different conditions, establishing their various noise footprints. These results are used to inform decisions about ground crew noise protection. In addition, the durability of components and sub-assemblies was assured.

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