So far, F-35B performing at sea as advertised

So far, F-35B performing at sea as advertised

There aren’t many official details yet, but from the photos and videos trickling out of the public affairs shop, the Marines’ F-35B seems to be proving itself early in its shipboard trials aboard the USS Wasp. The Navy released a second video on Wednesday showing the highlights so far of the jet’s takeoffs and landings; it opted for “Let the bodies hit the floor” as the soundtrack, but jet-builder Lockheed Martin went with a more generic metal accompaniment.

We can infer a few things from the announcements and media so far: The B’s complicated lift-fan and all its crazy Swiss watch hatches and ports and vents seem to be handling the salt air as designed. The video snippets of it taking off are especially interesting — look at how quickly the jet’s afterburner moves from the horizontal to the vertical as it picks up speed, and note the way its tail also begins in a normal mode and then angles all the way down. Compare that to an AV-8B Harrier takeoff, in which most of the jet stays in place as its smaller engine exhausts push it up and off the deck.

But there’s a lot we still don’t know. Will all these components work together the right way every time? And remember that these tests were as much about the Wasp as they were about the jets, and on that score, the Navy issued a very telling photo on Wednesday:

Click the image to see a high-res version. See that long black rectangle on the aft section of the flight deck, inboard of the port side aircraft elevator? That’s where the Navy installed (updated) a new patch of non-skid against the B’s powerful jet blast, which skeptics have long warned could damage the ship’s flight deck. It still looks fine here because the jet is making its first landing — and in fact, the B may have been able to set down on a normal flight deck without incident. The problem is no one knows what will happen to the flight decks after dozens and then hundreds of landings. What kind of new maintenance will they need? What precautions will crews need to take?

We’ve got our ear to the ground for these and any other new details about the B’s shipboard testing, so stay tuned.

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Good news I hope we get good roi.

Is that dark square in fact “extra protection” or is it merely fresh non-skid? Do the author have any sources backing that statement?

Two points — the F-35 afterburner does not move from Horizontal to Vertical — that’s the vectoring 3 bearing nozzle and flaps moving. Understand from other sources (AV Wk)that it is just fresh non-skid

Good clarifications, thank you — I think we’re all saying the same thing in different ways. I basically wanted to point out that the Navy took precautions with the ship and that when the B takes off you can see there’s lots of stuff happening with it, whereas the Harrier, from the viewer’s perspective, just kind of shoots off the bow.

It is refreshing to see the program actually do something other than ask for more money and more time.

And to think that the 4 nozzles on the Harrier are controlled by a bicycle chain to stay insync — we’ve come a long way (hopefully for the better <vbg<)

Just beware that “coming a long way” is only HOPEFULLY for the better! Last I checked, a bicycle chain required exactly zero lines of software to do its job! (admittedly a few more lines to determine what that job might be!). WIth the Harrier, a line of code error in the flight control computer might leave the nozzles pointing in a novel direction, but… without that bicycle chain, the novelty might be even more “interesting” in the F-35! (But of course, there are NO errors in the software.… . .) And no I dont drink that KoolAid either! LOL!

Hammers work! Been around for years! And just because of that, I feel no huge compelling reason to redesign hammers to incorporate software controls to keep the head and handle connected! :-) Do you?

Considering the Harriers didn’t have flight control computers like we have today and it was up to the pilot to move the nozzles where he wanted them to go, if a few lines of software can make his job easier, I’m for it. So far, the basic F-35 vehicle control software is operating as predicted, since they had to get this right before they could fly.

Phil, as Amy Butler noted at the Av Week ARES blog yesterday, the “black square” on the deck is not “extra protection”, it is simply a new coat of non-skid applied to that portion of the flight deck. She specifically asked the JPO about it and was told there were no special pads or coatings applied to the flight deck. Thus, WASP is “a normal flight deck” with the exception of the instrumentation for environmentals.

And about the link to the ‘Navy’ version. I don’t think they’re REALLY the Navy. from the comments at the site:

Uploader Comments (usnavy)
usnavy commented on Bad guys beware! F 35B Joint Strike Fighter(4 hours ago)
Thanks all for the catch on vertical take off. We’ll adjust to STOL, and ps3specter we’re actually high school students. @ryanchankakiu if you have better video — bring it!
(Just an FYI)

LOL. Stupid reporters. They’ll believe anything you tell them. That black patch is not just new skid. It’s also very thick. Otherwise, the afterburner is so hot it will warp the flight deck. And BTW, that tilt-down engine and afterburner — we “stole” the idea from the Russians.

Stupid reporters? The F-35’s exhaust is just some 18–20 degrees hotter than that of the Harrier. Also, Google the Convair 200 before you start claiming we stole anything from the Russians. Educate yourself.

The author doesn’t know what he is talking about. The dark area is where an ARRAY OF SENSORS was installed specifically for testing. Previous tests have already proven that the F-35B’s exhaust IS NOT A PROBLEM! It doesn’t even “look fine”. One can clearly see scorch marks from AV-8Bs which had been operating from USS Wasp the week prior to the F-35B.

It has been doing that for quite some time.

No it hasn’t. DoD just asked to shift money to cover shortfalls within the last couple months.

The afterburner is not used during landing

Can we say the Swedes stole the Gripen from the Convair 200 concept then?


In fact the program has already completed 3 of the 5 award milestones for 2011 & it continues to look as though the final 2 will be by year end.

No it hasn’t

“The scrutiny is intense. Twice in two years, at the direction of recently departed Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Pentagon officials restructured the program to provide more time and money to allow Lockheed to overcome past delays and get production and testing on track. To pay for those changes, orders for 224 planes have been delayed over the next several years.

The Pentagon has also reported that the cost of the first 31 planes exceeded budgets by $1.1 billion and has asked Congress for approval to shift funds to pay for those overruns.

Reuters news service reported Monday that Pentagon planners are considering further delaying orders for 100 planes as a way to meet new five-year budget targets.“

Please don’t let yourself be trifled by something as insignificant as actually knowing what your talking about.

The Navy/USMC engineering and maintenance documents have documented that the F-35B exhaust is hitting the deck at 1700 F and moving at over Mach 1 during vertical landing. The Harrier is not even close to being this hot.

I’m disappointed in you William, your usually better then this…

F-35B completes first sea trials on USS Wasp

As always, never a shortage of dumbasses here that served 20 years ago ( or never) and think they have a CLUE. Aren’t you the same jackasses that said the V-22 would flip over when one nacelle was over the deck and the other was over the water? Remember when you said the Osprey would “melt the deck” too?


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