Tag Archives: F-35C

[Photo] All three F-35 variants fly together for the first time

F-35A, F-35B and F-35C Joint Strike Fighters flying together.

A nice photo lets you compare the shape and size of the three variants of the F-35 Lightining II multi-role aircraft flying together for the first time.

From right to left, F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off Landing), F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing), F-35C Carrier Variant, and F-35A CTOL.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

 

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Video: First F-35 Carrier Variant night flight. With heavy afterburner usage.

After the first cool images, here’s the video of the F-35C test plane CF-2 during the first night flight on Jun. 13.

As seen when the F-35A made its first night sortie in January, note the green night formation lights, used by combat plane to make formation flying easier after dark.

This is one of the coolest F-35 photos, ever: Carrier Variant first night take off with full afterburner

The following image shows Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matt Taylor as he ascends in F-35C test aircraft CF-2, on Jun. 13. It was taken at NAS Patuxent River and depicts the first night takeoff for the carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The flight was aimed at evaluating the aircraft’s night lighting system.

Click on the image below to download the high-rez version of the cool photo (3000px).

Image credit: Lockheed Martin via U.S. Navy

And here’s another one, just uploaded by LM on the company’s Flickr photostream.

Photo: U.S. Navy Carrier Variant F-35C's first formation flight

On Apr. 18, two F-35C Lightning II carrier variant aircraft launched together from Naval Air Station Patuxent River and conducted formation flying for more than one hour.

The mission flown by the two aircraft, known as CF-1 and CF-2, and piloted by Navy Cdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt Taylor, respectively, aimed to test flying qualities of the aircraft while taking off, landing and flying in formation.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

UK to reverse decision on F-35 version. Two aircraft carriers and 72 retired Harriers later.

After the first of the UK’s F-35s took to the air on Apr. 13, it would seem that British Prime Minister David Cameron has been persuaded into going back with the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) version and reverse his earlier decision to reverse order from the F-35B the F-35C CV (Carrier Variant).

The British newspaper The Daily Mail has reported that Cameron has taken on board military advice and gone with the B version that was controversially axed in 2010 as the British government, following a Strategic Defence and Security Review, negotiated a deal to get the JSF that will equip the American flattops instead of that destined for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Cameron made the U-turn after hearing that the changes needed by the two carriers would amount to £1.8 billion and delay the whole project by 7 years.

The Daily Mail quoted a Downing street official as saying: “The major problem with the conventional aircraft [the CV variant] is that we would be without carrier capability for far too long”.

Obviously, such uncertainity gives us more ammunition to criticise the initial decision to scrap the two small aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Invincible (leaving the UK with no maritime strike capability for a decade or more), the subsequent retirement of the Harrier “Jump Jet” and last year’s sale of the RAF’s 72 Harrier jets to the USMC for a mere 180 million USD.

The (final?) decision is expected to be signed off officially within the next few weeks.

In the meanwhile Lockheed Martin has released a video of the UK’s F-35B inaugural flight.

The one in the video should be UK future’s F-35 version. Until next U-turn on future Britain’s aircraft carrier and naval aviation.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com