A Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
completed its first night short take-off and vertical landing during a
test sortie at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, on 2 April.
According to Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program
Office, USMC test pilot Maj CR Clift conducted the flight to gather data
on the aircraft’s helmet and lighting conditions for night time
operations. The test was flown as part of ongoing
efforts to prepare for the jet for the second of three scheduled
sea-trials for the F-35.
“The completion of this test event demonstrates the
F-35B is one step closer to delivering a critical capability to the US
Marine Corps and F-35B partners in the United Kingdom and Italy” says Lt
Gen Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program executive
officer. “There is plenty of work to be done and progress to be made,
but we’re on a solid path forward.”
The first F-35 ship trials happened in October
2011, when two F-35Bs performed 72 vertical landings and take-offs
aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp off the Virginia coast.