UK engineers are aboard USS America for F-35B trials

Photo: Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Navy recently shared news of the Marines’ F-35B stealth fighter jet conducting trials aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America.

A total of seven of the STOVL (short take-off vertical landing) variants of the Lockheed Martin-built jet are embarked on USS America for both developmental and operational testing.

Also on board are Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel. The diverse Integrated Test Force team includes technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots from the squadron known as VX23.

The engineers are led by Lt Cdr Dale Collins, the UK’s F-35B air engineer and ship integration project officer, while the pilots are RAF Squadron Leader Andy Edgell and former Fleet Air Arm pilot Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson, now working for BAE Systems.

The three-week long final phase of testing will evaluate the full range of the aircraft’s suitability and effectiveness on a sea-going carrier. The trial follows previous ones aboard the USS Wasp.

The UK’s new flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to embark her first F-35Bs in 2018.

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