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Aero India 2023

F-35 naval variant makes first catapult launch

The F-35C takes to the sky in its first steam catapult launch on Wednesday. A NAVAIR photo

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, LAKEHURST (BNS): Achieving a key milestone, an aircraft carrier variant of the F-35 stealth fighter has successfully undergone its first steam catapult test launch.

The F-35C test aircraft, designated CF-3, was launched by the TC-13 Mod 2 test steam catapult at the Naval Air Station Lakehurst on Wednesday.

Flown by Lt. Chris Tabert, a US Navy test pilot, the warplane inched closer towards initial ship trials in 2013 following the successful catapult launch, the Naval Air Systems Command said.

“In addition to the catapult launches at varying power levels, the integrated test team will execute a test plan over three weeks to include dual-aircraft jet blast deflector testing and catapult launches using a degraded catapult configuration to measure the effects of steam ingestion on the aircraft,” the NAVAIR said in a statement.

The F-35C carrier variant is distinct from the other two variants of the supersonic stealth fighter – F-35A and F-35B.

The carrier variant has larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for slower catapult launch and landing approach speeds and deck impacts associated with the demanding carrier take-off and landing environment.

The F-35C is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River prior to eventual delivery to the fleet.


US Navy  F-35  

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Brahmand World Defence Update 2023

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