The U.S. Navy is moving forward with specialized testing of its F-35C, which is designed for use on aircraft carriers, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
Jet CF-3 arrived yesterday at the Navy’s test center there to begin catapult assisted takeoff and arrested landing testing, says Joe DellaVedova, Joint Strike Fighter spokesman for the Pentagon. Catapult testing for the single-engine, stealthy Lockheed Martin fighter could begin as soon as today.
Next week, the service plans to continue work on jet-blast deflector (JBD) testing. Trials earlier this month focused on validating jet-blast exhaust models for the F-35C as they interact with the deflectors used on aircraft carrier decks.
The next step in this series of trials, which will follow the cat/trap testing, is to replicate operations on a ship. This will call for placing the F-35C and a Boeing F-18 Super Hornet in front of and behind the JBD as they would operate on the ship. This will ensure that the cooling-vein pattern on the JBD can adequately protect both the deck and the aircraft in line behind the JBD in advance of a rapid launch of carrier aircraft.
Following this phase, the Navy will begin “degraded catapult” launch testing at Lakehurst, DellaVedova says. During these trials, the Navy will use catapults with varying levels of steam to simulate various levels of service by the system on the ship.