WATCH: Marines Vertically Land F-35B Lightning IIs For The First Time Ever On The U.S.S. WASP
Our drinking buddies at the RSVLTS just brought our attention to the first ever successful landing of a F-35B Lightning II Stealth Fighter on a ship by Marine pilots. It happened back in May on the amphibious ship the U.S.S. WASP (important to note that it is NOT an aircraft carrier) just off the coast of North Carolina. The short takeoffs and helicopter-esque landings are a damn beautiful sight to witness. Amy Butler from Aviación describes exactly what she got to witness:
May 26, I had the opportunity to witness aviation history with a small group of reporters invited to the USS Wasp amphibious ship to witness a few hours of the first-ever F-35B Operational Test (OT-1) trails off the coast of North Carolina. I’m posting some of the many videos I collected to give our readers a sense of what we saw on the boat.
During OT-1, actual Marines — not test overseers — are operating the six F-35Bs that embarked May 18 for the tests; this includes pilots and maintainers. During DT (developmental testing), we got to see firsthand the first vertical landing and short takeoff at sea, but in OT-1, the Marines are demonstrating a cadence to operations to gain confidence the single-engine, stealthy fighters can assimilate into an air wing onboard the amphibious ship, which will include other platforms: the MV-22, CH-53E/K, AH-W/Z and unmanned air systems among them. This is all leading up to what the operational debut of the F-35B, slated in July.
Foxtrot Alpha estimates each of these jets cost “$150 million a pop.”
But you can’t put a price on America being the most kick-ass country in the world because of cool fighter jets, amirite?
Here’s the F-35B landing on land: