F-35C jets land on Norfolk-based USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

Posted at 8:06 PM, Oct 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-09 19:21:22-04

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - The future of Naval aviation has landed on the USS Eisenhower.

Two F-35C Lighting II jets completed arrested landings on the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier on Friday, October 2, 2015.

It's a part of the second phase of at-sea Developmental Testing for the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.

The testing is expected to happen over the next two weeks and will help the Navy ensure the jets meet specifications, as well as identify any issues.

NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo was aboard the Eisenhower Friday for the final day of flight operations for a segment of the testing.

The purpose of phase two of the testing is to test the F-35C in an at-sea environment.

"We brought a team from the Eisenhower to Patuxent River about two months ago," said Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Kitts. "We have a steam catapult built into our runway. We took some steps with the crew here to bring them up to speed by training them on the F-35 to get them a little bit more familiar with our aircraft."

During the testing, the F-35C will perform a variety of maneuvers as well as simulate maintenance operations.

The jet is expected to be operational in the fleet in 2018.

"The goal of this test phase is to find out how we can expand the envelope in which this aircraft works in an effective and safe fashion," Kitts said. "We have a huge team working on this, and I know that each time I get in this aircraft it's the culmination of a lot of people's hard work."

An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant joint strike fighter assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 makes an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The F-35C Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force is currently conducting follow-on sea trials aboard the Eisenhower. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anderson W. Branch/Released)


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