Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Gloom of Night Stays These Stealth Fighters...

(Photo courtesy US Navy)

(Photo courtesy US Navy)

The Navy’s carrier-optimized F-35C will conduct tough takeoff and landing tests beginning in October:

The upcoming sea trials will mark the second phase of developmental testing for the Lockheed Martin-made F-35C. During the test period, the team will evaluate the aircraft’s ability to launch and recover from the carrier, and its performance in suboptimal conditions and during night operations.

The Navy conducted initial sea trials with the fighter jet aboard the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) off the coast of Southern California in November. During the testing period, the Navy completed 124 catapult launches and arrested landings with zero missed arrestments, service spokeswoman Sylvia Pierson said Thursday. Because the aircraft performed so well, the test team decided to conduct night operations, an unprecedented feat during the first at-sea period of any naval aircraft since the F-4 era, Pierson said.

Pierson characterized the November trials as “history-making,” adding that the team completed all test goals ahead of schedule.

The officers and crew of the USS Eisenhower get the privilege of playing host to the aviators who will be risking all.