Navy Plans 2nd Round of Sea Trials for Lockheed’s F-35C Jets

F35The U.S. Navy will conduct at-sea trials of Lockheed Martin‘s F-35C jet aboard the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier in October as part of the program’s second development testing phase, Defense News reported Thursday.

Lara Seligman writes that the tests will verify the carrier-variant joint strike fighter’s launch and recovery functions and performance under nighttime and suboptimal conditions.

Initial sea trials held last year aboard the USS Nimitz covered catapult launches, arrested landings and night operations.

The Navy’s F-35C jets are scheduled to become operational in 2018, the report said.

Seligman notes that while the service has planned to purchase 20 of the aircraft per year in the 2020s, Naval Air Forces Commander Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker has indicated the number may drop to 12 due to the current budget environment.

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