The F-35C Lightning II, the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, continues initial sea trials aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) off the coast of Southern California.
Through Nov. 6, the fourth day of at-sea testing, two test F-35C aircraft have completed 12 flights. During those 12 flights, the aircraft flew a combined 12.7 flight hours and accomplished 203 test points.
The Navy’s newest fixed-wing fighter performed 55 catapult launches, 84 planned touch-and-go landings and 57 arrested landings. Through four days of at-sea testing, the test team successfully landed during every attempt, with zero bolters, or failures to catch an arresting cable on the flight deck.
With the last of the four test pilots completing carrier qualifications Nov. 6, all aircrew members are now carrier-qualified and able to fly the aircraft in test events.
During the first stage of developmental testing, the test team conducts a series of events designed to gradually expand the aircraft-operating envelope at sea. Events scheduled for Nov. 7 center on crosswind catapult launches and crosswind approaches to test the aircraft’s ability to perform in both nominal and off-nominal conditions.
At-sea test delivers the opportunity to conduct operations in preparation for Navy F-35C initial operational capability scheduled for 2018.
Press release, Image: US Navy