ABOARD USS AMERICA — Approximately 125 nautical miles off the coast of San Diego, the F-35B has entered its home stretch of sea trials on the new class of amphibious-assault ship designed to support it.
The third and final stage of testing is designed to fine-tune the fifth-generation stealth fighter’s capabilities in conjunction with the USS America.
Ideal for the amphibious nature of the Marine Corps, the F-35B is capable of executing short takeoffs and vertical landings, and it is the world’s first supersonic stealth aircraft to do so.
The following video was shot from Vulture’s Row, a flight deck observation area located on the island of the USS America, and shows an F-35B executing a short takeoff.
Adjust the volume on your device before pressing play.
What’s more, planners intentionally placed the amphibious warship in choppy waters in order to evaluate how the pilot and aircraft would adapt. Planners said the F-35B was testing in sea state 4 with swells of up to 6 feet accompanied with approximately 15 knots of wind.
“There are smoother places that we could be,” Andrew Maack, government chief test engineer and site director of the naval variants at Patuxent River, Maryland, said during a briefing aboard the vessel.
“But we are actually looking for increased deck motion so we asked for the ship to be here for the purpose of it being a little bit more challenging envelope for the aeroplane.”
The final round of testing aboard USS America is slated to conclude in mid-November and the first operational squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, is scheduled to deploy to Japan in early 2018.
Video editing by Justin Gmoser.
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