News story

Lightning II jets in vertical night landing tests

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK military pilots have been involved in the second round of vertical night landings at sea of the new F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The pilots, along with UK ground crew, are testing 3 Lightning II jets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, working alongside their counterparts from the US Marine Corps.

The latest testing has been used to expand the operational envelope, with aircraft flown in a variety of air and sea states, landing at day and night, all while carrying internal weapons.

The vertical night landings which took place on the USS Wasp, were the first to be conducted at sea.

Squadron Leader Jim Schofield RAF performs the first short takeoff at sea in a F-35B aircraft, from the USS Wasp

RAF Pilot performs first UK takeoff of F-35B Lightning at sea

Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) event in London, the UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

Our Armed Forces will be equipped with the best next generation jet fighter machine, giving them the operational advantage they will need to protect our citizens for decades to come.

The fifth-generation stealth aircraft will fly from the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Carriers from 2018.