The U.S. Navy will conduct developmental and operational tests of seven Lockheed Martin-built F-35B Lightning II aircraft aboard an amphibious assault ship.
Five of the seven F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing variant are scheduled to enter the operational testing phase onboard the USS America (LHA-6) vessel while the remaining two fighter jets will begin the third phase of the shipboard developmental test, the Navy said Monday.
Lt. Col. Tom “Sally” Fields, F-35 Patuxent River integrated test force government flight test director assigned to air test and evaluation squadron 23, said the F-35 Pax River ITF and VX 23 will subject F-35Bs to developmental test over the next three weeks to assess how the fighter jet operates in the “3F configuration.“
The marine operational test and evaluation squadron 1 will conduct operational tests of the STOVL aircraft aboard USS America in an effort to prepare pilots and maintenance crews for the jet“™s initial deployment aboard the USS Wasp (LHD 1) ship, Fields added.
USS America is designed to accommodate F-35Bs, MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and helicopters from both the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.