F-35A Lightning II icy runway testing
By Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 19, 2017
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The Lockheed Martin’s F-35A test crew is conducting testing on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to certify the aircraft’s ability to taxi and land on an icy runway.
In order to do this the team sprays water onto a section of runway and after it freezes tests the runway condition reading (RCR). RCR is a measurement of the runways slickness. RCR 23 is considered a dry runway while RCR 5 is solid ice. The F-35A is currently certified to land at an RCR of 12, but the goal is to get the certification to land at RCR 7.
While the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron and 354th Operations Support Squadron work to keep Eielson’s runway at an RCR 12 or better, it often slips below that due to extreme weather conditions. Once the two F-35A Lightning II squadrons arrive in 2020, the RCR 7 certification would clear the F-35A to use the runway throughout the Alaskan winter.