Fifth-Gen Hits the Slopes

An F-35B Lightning II recently commenced “ski-jump” trials to validate the jet’s capability to operate from the Royal Navy’s non-catapult equipped Queen Elizabeth II class carriers, Royal Navy officials announced. “As is usually the case, the jet performed as expected and it was a real pleasure,” RN reservist and BAE Systems test pilot Peter Wilson said in a June 25 release. “We spend literally years planning these ‘firsts,'” he added. Aircraft BF-04 ran its maiden ski-jump take-off from a purpose-built, 20-foot high ramp at NAS Patuxent River, Md., on June 19. British personnel cooperatively completed the F-35B’s first deployed operational test with the US Marine Corps, aboard the USS Wasp last month, according to a service release. “Since the beginning, UK test pilots and engineers have been fully integrated and work shoulder-to-shoulder with us as we deliver the F-35 to the warfighter,” joint program office executive Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan stated. The first British F-35 squadron stood up at Edwards AFB, Calif., in February.