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Navy To Test F-35C Off Eisenhower in October

Defense News // August 20, 2015

The US Navy is planning at-sea testing of the carrier variant joint strike fighter in the first few weeks of October aboard the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower, according to several sources.

The upcoming sea trials will mark the second phase of developmental testing for the Lockheed Martin-made F-35C. During the test period, the team will evaluate the aircraft’s ability to launch and recover from the carrier, and its performance in suboptimal conditions and during night operations. 

The Navy conducted initial sea trials with the fighter jet aboard the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) off the coast of Southern California in November. During the testing period, the Navy completed 124 catapult launches and arrested landings with zero missed arrestments, service spokeswoman Sylvia Pierson said Thursday. Because the aircraft performed so well, the test team decided to conduct night operations, an unprecedented feat during the first at-sea period of any naval aircraft since the F-4 era, Pierson said. 

Pierson characterized the November trials as “history-making,” adding that the team completed all test goals ahead of schedule.

“Testers also accelerated the F-35C program test and evaluation objectives by six months as they completed all 2014 carrier-based threshold test goals ahead of schedule, developed a large amount of the initial aircraft launch and recovery bulletins, and paved the way for F-35 fifth generation fighters to deliver an unprecedented stealth-at-sea capability to the carrier air wing,” she said. 

The initial tests also qualified the four test pilots to fly the aircraft in at-sea test events, Pierson noted. 

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