NAWCAD Lakehurst Adapts Weapons Loader for F-35B

March 19, 2019 – Team work and co-location at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst resulted in modified Support Equipment (SE) that gives the F-35B Lightning II more capability. When the Marine Corps chose the Guided Bomb Unit (GBU)-49 weapon system for the F-35B, they needed a piece of SE to load the weapon onto the aircraft. The GBU-49 provides new capability that will enable the F-35B to engage moving ground targets. However, the conduit on the GBU-49 did not fit the current weapons loader, until a team…

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UK wins global F-35 support assignment worth £500M

February 12, 2019 – The UK’s role as a leading partner on the global F-35 program has received another huge boost today. The F-35 avionic and aircraft component repair hub in North Wales was awarded a second major assignment of work worth some £500M by the US Department of Defense. Following the announcement in 2016 that the UK would be the location of the global repair hub for the initial tranche of F-35 components, today’s news sees significantly more UK support work to the cutting-edge jets. This new assignment will…

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U.S., Japanese Commanders Observe F-35B Operations from USS Wasp

February 4, 2019 – The Commander of U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F) and Commander in Chief of Self Defense Fleet, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), visited the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) Feb. 5 to observe the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) operations at sea. U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer and Vice Adm. Kazuki Yamashita were joined by other senior JSDF officers to showcase Wasp ARG’s amphibious capabilities, including operations by 31st MEU F-35B Lightning II aircraft. “It’s great getting…

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HMS Monmouth Returns From F-35B Plane Guard Duty

December 14, 2018 – HMS Monmouth has returned to her home in Devonport after being deployed with the UK’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. The Type-23 frigate has operated as part of the Carrier Strike Group since the ships sailed in August on the WESTLANT 2018 Deployment. Her role has been to provide security at sea for the Strike Group on the East Coast of the US as the Carrier conducted hugely successful and historic trials with the F35B- Lightning II jets. During her deployment, she travelled over 20,000…

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Pax River F-35 ITF Leaves HMS Queen Elizabeth After “Eclipsing aspirations”

November 30, 2018 – F-35 Lightning jets from the Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) left HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), Nov. 19, 2018, after eight weeks flying on and off the 65,000-tonne warship, helping to write the ‘operator’s manual’ so the jets can fly from her deck on front-line operations. The success of the Westlant 18 deployment – which has also included a visit to New York – allows the Portsmouth, UK-based ship to move on to operational trials next year. Two F-35B test jets, four test pilots and nearly…

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Lightnings strike Eagles and Hawks as F-35s train to defend UK skies

November 30, 2018 – Side by side several thousand feet above eastern England three warbirds fly in close formation as UK F-35s take part in their first combat exercise in home skies: playing out a mock 21st-Century Battle of Britain. Two Lightnings – one flown by an RAF pilot, the second with a Fleet Air Arm aviator in the cockpit – joined 40 British, American and French jets over East Anglia and the North Sea for Exercise Point Blank. For the past three years, the US and RAF have been…

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Another milestone landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth

November 19, 2018 – For the first time a jet has landed backwards on Britain’s new aircraft carrier as HMS Queen Elizabeth and her F-35 Lightnings pass another milestone. RAF test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell flew his specially-adapted stealth fighter facing the stern, not bow, before bringing the jet to a hover, slipping it over the huge flight deck and gently setting it down. The ‘back-to-front’ maneuver, described as “like driving the wrong way down a one-way street” is intended to give pilots and the flight deck team more…

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UK to double F-35 fleet with 17-jet order

November 15, 2018 – The UK is set to double its number of world-beating F-35 stealth jets after ordering 17 more aircraft, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced. The 17 new F-35B aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022 and will complement the 16 British aircraft currently based at RAF Marham and in the US, as well as two additional aircraft which are already on order. Overall, the UK has committed to procure 138 aircraft over the life of the programme. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “I am delighted…

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First test bombs dropped from HMS Queen Elizabeth’s F-35s

October 18, 2018 – The first bombs have been dropped from F-35 Lightning fighter jets conducting trials on board Britain’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided precision bombs were dropped off the east coast of the USA, marking another significant milestone in the carrier’s trials. Adding the 500lb bombs to the jets for take-off has enabled the trials teams to see how the jets behave when carrying various weights, gathering crucial test data. It is the first time the American-made bombs have ever…

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F-35 pilot makes history with revolutionary method of landing jets on HMS Queen Elizabeth

October 15, 2018 – A revolutionary method of landing an F-35 Lightning fighter jet on a ship has been carried out for the first time on board the UK’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. British test pilot Peter Wilson made history when he conducted the first ever shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) this weekend – a method which looks like a conventional aircraft landing but requires even more intense skill and precision. Previously the jets have conducted only vertical landings, hovering by the side of the ship before moving…

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F-35s Conduct First Night Landings on HMS Queen Elizabeth

October 3, 2018 – Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has reached another milestone in her flight trials with the first night-time landings of F-35 Lightning jets. Britain’s biggest warship is currently conducting flight testing off the east coast of the United States and part of that is practicing landing in darkness. These tests were carried out with and without the aid of night-vision technology, with the pilots and aircraft handlers successfully guiding the fast fighter jets onto the flight deck. Pilots initially flew in using only ambient light and the…

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F-35Bs Join Forces with British Aircraft Carrier to Make History

October 2, 2018 – This week the first F-35 Lightning fighter jets landed on the deck of the United Kingdom’s new aircraft carrier making history and marking the beginning of more than half-a-century of ‘Carrier Strike’ operations. Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and Royal Air Force Sq. Ldr. Andy Edgell, both test pilots at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., were the first pilots to land the stealth F-35 Lightning fighter jets on board the carrier, demonstrating the formidable force HMS Queen Elizabeth and…

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USMC F-35B Conducts First Combat Strikes in CENTCOM AOR

September 27, 2018 – The Marine Corps F-35B, Lightning II, conducted its first combat strikes in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan, Sept. 27. During this mission the F-35B conducted an air strike in support of ground clearance operations, and the strike was deemed successful by the ground force commander. “The F-35B is a significant enhancement in theater amphibious and air warfighting capability, operational flexibility, and tactical supremacy,” said Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central command. “As part…

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F-35 Lightning jets land on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time

September 28, 2018 – Fast fighter jets are once again flying from a Royal Navy aircraft carrier as the first F-35s have landed on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Commander Nathan Gray RN and S/L Andy Edgell RAF were the first pilots to make history by landing their F-35 Lightning stealth jets on the flight deck of Britain’s newest carrier. [smartslider3 slider=95] Shortly afterwards, Commander Gray became the first pilot to take off using the ship’s ski ramp. The flying operations mark the start of more than 500…

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ITF Team Nears Historic Testing with HMS Queen Elizabeth

September 13, 2018 – The F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) is nearing another milestone as they prepare to embark two F-35Bs on board the United Kingdom’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for First of Class Flight Trials (Fixed Wing), or FOCFT (FW), this fall. Nearly 200 ITF personnel—active duty U.S. and U.K. military, DOD civilians as well as contractors from DOD and industry—will join the ship’s 1,500-person crew in making history when the two jets land on the British carrier. The event will be the first time…

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