Five F-35Bs Begin Shipboard Testing
Five Joint Strike Fighter "B"-variant aircraft landed on the amphibious assault ship America for testing last week, according to the Navy.
America (LHA-6) will embark seven F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing jets. Two aircraft are scheduled to begin developmental testing and five jets are slated for operational testing, according to a service statement.
"The ship's design features several aviation capabilities enhanced beyond previous amphibious assault ships which include an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage of parts and equipment, as well as increased aviation fuel capacity," according to the Navy.
The third developmental test will evaluate F-35B operations in a high-sea state, shipboard landings and night operations.
"It's exciting to start the execution phase of our detachment with VMX-1 (Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1) on USS America," Lt. Col. Tom "Sally" Fields, F-35 Patuxent River ITF Government Flight Test director said in a statement.