US-UK Team Tests ‘Ski-Jump’ Launch for F-35B Jets

F-35BA joint U.S. and U.K. team is conducting initial tests on the short takeoff capability of Lockheed Martin‘s F-35B fighter jet led by BAE Systems test pilot Peter Wilson.

The U.K. defense ministry said Tuesday the phase one tests are in preparation for the jet’s planned aircraft carrier operations aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

“[The] de-risking that we’re able to achieve now during phase one of our ‘ski-jump’ testing will equip us with valuable data we’ll use to fuel our phase two efforts,” Wilson said.

Ongoing tests under phase one are held at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in the U.S. by the F35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force, the ministry stated.

The U.K. defense ministry noted that U.K. aircraft carriers have an upward-sloped ramp at the bow to support the “ski-jump” or short takeoff approach compared to U.S. carriers’ use of catapults and arresting gear.

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