Lockheed Martin‘s F-35C Lightning II aircraft has completed an initial round of at-sea development tests aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, where the Joint Strike Fighter performed nighttime landings and other maneuvers.
The U.S. Navy said Monday that the F-35 Lightning II Integrated Test Force of the Naval Air Station Patuxent River’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 evaluated the aircraft’s suitability and integration with air and deck operations on the carrier.
Cmdr. Tony Wilson, DT-I team leader, said the Integrated Direct Lift Control design and Delta Flight Path are key to the F-35C’s ball and aircraft flight control functions.
The DT-I tests covered 39.2 total flight hours, 33 flights and maneuvers such as catapults, arrestments and touch-and-go landings.
Lockheed worked with Fokker Technologies on the redesign of the aircraft’s tailhook based on findings from earlier shore-based tests.
Two more at-sea development test phases are scheduled before the planned 2018 deployment of the F-35C Lightning II.