Ok, it isn’t taken on the deck of USS Nimitz. However, the following video, just released by the US Navy, gives you an idea of what US (and British) naval aviation will look like in the future. Just imagine some more green, blue, yellow, red jackets, the typical “island” of a supercarrier in the background, steam coming out of the catapults, and the sea at the end of the deck. To be honest, to add some more realism, we should add some payload (weapons and tanks) to that clean and light aircraft….
The video was taken at Lakehurst on Jul. 27, 2011 when Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert took off with the F-35C CF-3, the designated carrier suitability testing aircraft, launched by a steam catapult during catapult and jet blast deflector testing.
Noteworthy, as the F-18, the F-35C has the rudders deflected inwards during catapult launches to help the nose raising as the aircraft leaves the ship.
The F-35C is the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, with larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for slower catapult launch and landing approach speeds and deck impacts associated with the demanding carrier take-off and landing environment than the A (Conventional) and B (STOVL) variant.