SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth ]

On Novem­ber 3, F-35C Light­ning II car­rier vari­ant Joint Strike Fight­ers were launched from the air­craft car­rier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) off the coast of San Diego. The launches and re­cov­er­ies were part of ini­tial at-sea de­vel­op­men­tal test­ing phase I (DT-I) for the F-35C. The test­ing is ex­pected to last two weeks. The F-35C is the car­rier vari­ant (CV) of the F-35 Light­ning II Joint Strike Fighter de­signed for the US Navy as a first-day-of-war, sur­viv­able strike fighter com­ple­ment to the F/A-18E/F Su­per Hornet. The F-35C is des­ig­nated to re­place the US Navy’s F/A-18C/Ds, but not the E/F Su­per Hornet and E/A-18G Growler elec­tronic at­tack air­craft.

The F-35C flight test air­craft, CF-3, and CF-5 flew in from Yuma, Ari­zona. CF-3 hooked the wire per­fectly, while the CF-5 per­formed a fly-by, then a touch-and-go and fi­nally an ar­rested land­ing, thus mark­ing a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the pro­gramme which has been af­fected by de­lays and costs.

Vice Ad­mi­ral Dave Buss, Com­man­der of US Naval Air Forces, termed the event as a “great and his­toric day” that will be used “as a spring­board into the fu­ture of naval avi­a­tion. The most re­mark­able thing was how steady and sta­ble it was on ap­proach. I didn’t see a lot of con­trol sur­face move­ment. Both air­craft landed ex­actly where we wanted them to.”

The de­vel­op­ment test­ing phase I will hap­pen over the next two weeks, dur­ing which time the en­ve­lope for flight op­er­a­tions will con­tin­u­ally be opened. Night land­ings are sched­uled for Novem­ber 13-15. De­vel­op­men­tal test­ing phase II is sched­uled to be­gin in 10 months, aboard an un­des­ig­nated car­rier. The fi­nal test­ing is sched­uled for 2016.

An F-35C Light­ning II car­rier vari­ant joint strike fighter con­ducts its first ar­rested land­ing aboard the air­craft car­rier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

Nimitz is un­der­way con­duct­ing rou­tine train­ing ex­er­cises.

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