The F-35, built by Lockheed Martin, is considered (by some) the new generation of U.S. air superiority. The aircraft completed a major milestone this week by conducting a nighttime short take off and vertical landing. The F-35 has hit some speed bumps in its development, but it is the Marines answer to replacing their harrier fleet. The future of the aircraft is unknown due to Washington infighting and budgetary concerns.
An F-35B Lightning II completed the first short takeoff and vertical landing during a test mission at night to expand the flight envelope and deliver capability to the warfighter. Marine Corps test pilot Maj. C.R. Clift conducted the flight April 2 to gather data on the helmet and lighting conditions for night operations.The test was one of a series of events being conducted to prepare for the second of three scheduled at-sea test periods during the development program.
“The F-35B will enable the Marine Corps to preserve its expeditionary nature and bring the next generation of war fighting capabilities to the Joint Force,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation.