The STOVL F-35B variant of the Joint Strike Fighter has made its first night landings at sea during critical Development Test Phase Two (DT-II) testing of the aircraft from the USS Wasp.
The first night landings took place on August 14, with US Marine Corps test pilot Lt Col Jimi Clift at the controls.
“It all went extremely well,” said Clift. “Eight successful landings in one night, so we’re tracking favourably along the learning curve.”
The 18-day long DT-II should see two embarked F-35Bs complete a number of tests to validate the aircraft’s suitability for seaborne operations. These include launch and recovery wind envelope expansion, night operations, initial mission systems evaluations at sea, as well as validating operations from a moving flightdeck and evaluation of shipboard sustainment.
Notes the JSF Program Office: “At the conclusion of DT-II, the Navy and Marine Corps team should have sufficient data to support certification for future F-35B Lighting II shipboard operations in anticipation of 2015 deployment.”