On Monday, six F-35B Lightning IIs arrived aboard the USS Wasp for two weeks of sea trials. The two-week operational test mission fulfills a Marine Corps requirement before its first squadron of 10 F-35s reaches IOC, or Initial Operational Capability, later this summer.
Two of the jets come from MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, and the other four have made the journey out from MCAS Yuma, Arizona. The Wasp, an amphibious assault ship, is currently at sea off the coast of Virginia, and the test marks the first time this many F-35s have been aboard a US Navy vessel.
The scope of the test includes interoperability of the F-35 with daily flight deck movements and flying operations. The evolutions will also include the loading and unloading of various weapon configurations, integration of the jet’s digital communications with systems aboard the ship, and the ability of maintenance personnel to deal with both scheduled repairs and spur-of-the-moment troubleshooting.
The scope of the testing includes the Marine Corps pilots, maintenance personnel, and logistical support in both day and night operations, under all weather conditions.
Stay tuned for more from FighterSweep as the testing progresses!
(Photo Courtesy of the United States Marine Corps)