Testing Cruise Expected To Last Two Weeks
The Navy and Marine Corps Team made naval aviation history
October 3 as the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) test aircraft
BF-2 landed safely on USS Wasp's (LHD 1) flight deck, the first
at-sea vertical landing for the Marine Corps' F-35 JSF version.
Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Fred Schenk landed BF-2 at 1512
U.S. Navy Photo
"It was exactly like we predicted," said Schenk. "But that's
because of all the hard work and extensive preparation done by the
Wasp and JSF team."
The first vertical landing is part of the initial ship trials
for the F-35B which started Monday and is expected to last two
weeks. The tests are scheduled to collect data on the aircraft's
ability to perform short take-offs and vertical landings on a ship
at sea, as well as determine how the aircraft integrates with the
ship's landing systems, and deck and hangar operations.
This test period, the first of three scheduled at-sea test
periods over the course of the development program, will also
collect environmental data on the deck through added
instrumentation to measure the F-35B's impact to flight deck
operations. "The first at sea vertical landing is a huge
milestone," said Marine Corps Col. Roger Cordell, military site
director for F-35 test and evaluation at Naval Air Station Patuxent
River. "We're still early in this test period, and we expect to
learn a lot more, but this is a great step toward delivering the
capability to the fleet."
Wasp spent time in a shipyard earlier this year, preparing for
the F-35 test period; adding specialized instrumentation to measure
deck environmental effects.
U.S. Navy Photo
"It is no small feat to put together sea trials," said Vice Adm.
David Venlet, F-35 Program Executive Officer. "This test was
planned to happen on 3 October back in early spring of this year
and the team delivered on schedule. Signs of dependable performance
are emerging across broad aspects of the development program.
Professionals from the Navy, Marine Corps and industry team of
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Pratt and
Whitney and Rolls Royce continue to work tirelessly to deliver this
aircraft to the fleet."
"Every time an aircraft is first tested at sea we learn a great
deal and the data collected from this event will inform us about
the further development work necessary to successfully integrate
the F-35B on large-deck amphibious ships. By all accounts, we're
off to a great start today," Venlet said.
The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter for the
U.S. Marine Corps, capable of short take-offs and vertical landings
for use on amphibious ships or expeditionary airfields to provide
air power to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The F-35B will
replace Marine AV-8B Harriers and F-18 Hornets and is undergoing
test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to delivery to the
In addition to being the first ship to successfully land the
F-35B, USS Wasp was also the first ship to host the V-22 Osprey
during shipboard trials in October 2007.