Popular Mechanics: F-35s Practice Vertical Landings on a Marine Corps Assault Ship
Marine jets test and develop new techniques ahead of the jet's first overseas deployment.
The U.S. Marine Corps has been landing F-35B Joint Strike Fighters on the amphibious assault ship USS America. The jets are undertaking a series of tests to prove their ability to operate in real-world deployment conditions, just months before their first real deployment abroad.
According to the Navy, seven F-35Bs from the VMX-1, the Marine Corps' testing and evaluation squadron, have been sent to the America. Five will be used to evaluate the plane's performance in "high-sea state, shipboard landings, and night operations." The Marines also plan to take one of the planes into the ship's hangar, take it apart, and then put it back together again.
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Update: F-35B Makes Long-Awaited Landing on Specially Designed Ship (Military.com)