The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington will host a Patuxent River integrated test force team for the Lockheed Martin-built F-35C fighter aircraft in support of developmental testing efforts.
The USS George Washington office said Sunday the test pilot team will work to complete the third and final at-sea stage as part of preparations for the F-35 variant’s initial operational capability scheduled for 2018.
“We test to make sure the aircraft meets all the specifications, and we test in the at-sea environment across the spectrum of operations the aircraft will be called upon to perform,” said Sylvia Pierson of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office.
“We conduct a lot of testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River… but you can’t replicate the carrier environment.”
Pierson added the aircraft variant has conducted 124 catapult launch and arrested landings with no unintentional bolters as well as night operations during the first development test to check the F-35C’s capacity to perform Navy operations.