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F-35B STOVL Completed Ship Suitability Test

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Published on Jul 6, 2013

F-35B STOVL Completed Ship Suitability Test | Lockheed Martin


The F-35B Short Takeoff & Vertical Landing Joint Strike Fighter Lightning-II Similar in size to the A variant, the B sacrifices about a third of the other version's fuel volume to accommodate the vertical flight system. Vertical takeoffs and landings are riskier due to threats such as foreign object damage. Whereas the F-35A is stressed to 9 g, the F-35B is stressed to 7 g. The first test flight of the F-35B was conducted on 11 June 2008.
Unlike other variants, the F-35B has no landing hook. The "STOVL/HOOK" control instead engages conversion between normal and vertical flight. Jet thrust is sent directly downwards during vertical flight; the nozzle is being redesigned to spread the output across an oval rather than circular shape in order to limit damage to asphalt and ship decks. The variant's three-bearing swivel nozzle that directs the full thrust of the engine is moved by a "fueldraulic" actuator using pressurized fuel.
The United States Marine Corps plans to purchase 340 F-35Bs, to replace current inventories of both the F/A-18 Hornet A, B, C and D-models, and the AV-8B Harrier II, in the fighter, and attack roles. The Marines plan to use the F-35B from "unimproved surfaces at austere bases", but with "special, high-temperature concrete designed to handle the heat". The USMC intends to declare Initial Operational Capability with about 50 F-35s running interim Block 2B software in the 2014 to 2015 timeframe. The USAF had considered replacing the A-10 with the F-35B, but will not do so due to the F-35B inability to generate enough sorties.
The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy plan for the F-35B is to replace the Harrier GR9s, which were retired in 2010. One of the Royal Navy requirements for the F-35B design was a Shipborne Rolling and Vertical Landing : SRVL mode to increase maximum landing weight to bring back unused ordnance by using wing lift during landing. In October 2010, the UK announced plans to order to the CATOBAR F-35C instead,but in May 2012 the UK reverted back to purchasing the F-35B, citing the cost of equipping the UK's new aircraft carriers for the F-35C.
The Italian Navy is preparing Grottaglie Air Station for future operations with the F-35B. The Italian Navy is to receive 22 aircraft between 2014 and 2021, with its Cavour aircraft carrier set to be modified to operate them by 2016.
Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James Amos has said that, in spite of increasing costs and schedule delays, there is no plan B to the F-35B. The F-35B is larger than the aircraft it replaces, which required USS America to be designed without well deck capabilities. In 2011, the USMC and USN signed an agreement that the USMC will purchase 340 F-35B and 80 F-35C fighters while the USN will purchase 260 F-35C fighters. The five squadrons of USMC F-35Cs will be assigned to Navy carriers while F-35Bs will be used on amphibious ships and ashore.
On 6 January 2011, Gates said that the 2012 budget would call for a two-year pause in F-35B production during which the aircraft faced redesign, or cancellation if unsuccessful. In 2011, Lockheed Martin executive vice president Tom Burbage and former Pentagon director of operational testing Tom Christie stated that most program delays were due to the F-35B, which forced massive redesigns of other versions. Lockheed Martin Vice President Steve O'Bryan has said that most F-35B landings will be conventional to reduce stress on vertical lift components.On 3 October 2011, the F-35B began its initial sea-trials by performing a vertical landing on the deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. Probation status was reportedly ended by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in January 2012 due to progress made.

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