A US Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighter has made its first night time short takeoff and vertical landing. (See video below).
Marine Corps test pilot Maj. C.R. Clift conducted the flight April 2 to gather data on the helmet and lighting conditions for night time operations.The test was one of a series of events being conducted to prepare for the second of three scheduled at-sea test periods during the development program.
The first F-35 ship trials occurred in 2011, when two F-35Bs performed 72 vertical landings and takeoffs aboard the USS Wasp, a large-deck amphibious ship.
The F-35B is the variant of the Lightning II designed for use by the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as F-35 international partners in the United Kingdom and Italy.
“The completion of this test event demonstrates the F-35B is one step closer to delivering a critical capability to the U.S. Marine Corps and F-35B partners in the United Kingdom and Italy” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “There is plenty of work to be done and progress to be made, but we’re on a solid path forward.”
The F-35B has conducted approximately 700 short takeoffs and completed more than 380 vertical landings including the first operational vertical landing aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. March 21, 2013.