F-35B Wasp Tests

Six F-35Bs made a “highly successful” test aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship during an eight-day evaluation that concluded Friday, said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, USMC aviation chief. Speaking with reporters via telecom from a Joint Strike Fighter executive committee meeting in Norway, Davis said the six jets flew 85.5 hours, racking up 108 sorties. “We got 10 pilots qualified” in the F-35B for carrier takeoffs and landings, Davis said, noting that three were qualified for night operations. Landing signal officers (LSOs) also were qualified, and some 91 marines received training in fixing and turning the F-35Bs and both “managing and measuring” their low observable features aboard ship. The things discovered were “little things … a part here or a tool there,” but overall the test went “as expected,” Davis reported. A spare engine was apparently flown out to the ship on an MV-22 fitted with a special “cradle to fit it inside,” he said. “Thermion coatings” applied to the deck of the Wasp to make it more resilient against the heat of the vertical-landing F-35Bs exhaust, also “worked well,” Davis said. In addition, a deployable version of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) performed “very well,” he said. Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall during the same telecon said, “This tells you where the program is,” reflecting “steady progress” and offering a glimpse of “the future of the program.”