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F-35B test aircraft complete DT-1 trials on Queen Elizabeth

19 October 2018
The F-35B development aircraft BF-05 pictured on Queen Elizabeth's ski ramp. The aircraft, carrying two inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, completed a first weapons drop from the carrier.

Two F-35B Lightning II aircraft from the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) have left the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth after completing a first phase of first-of-class flying trials (FOCFT) activity off the east coast of the United States.

Instrumented aircraft BF-04 and BF-05 returned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on 16 October on completion of a first phase of Development Testing (DT-1). Queen Elizabeth arrived in New York on 19 October to begin a week-long visit.

The two F-35B aircraft from the ITF embarked on Queen Elizabeth on 25 September. According to the RN, the aircraft completed 98 ski-jump launches, 96 vertical landings, and 2 shipborne rolling vertical landings during the course of DT-1.

Prior to completing DT-1, aircraft BF-05 performed first weapon drops during a sortie from Queen Elizabeth . Two inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided precision bombs – carried externally on hardpoints 3 and 9 – were successfully released.

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