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.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes