The picture was taken during the second round of F-35B ski ramp testing which continues to support the U. K. in advance of flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth
The interesting photo in this post shows a F-35B loaded with Paveway IV laser-guided bombs and AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles taking off from a ski-jump for the first time.
Noteworthy the picture was taken during the second round of F-35B ski ramp testing which continues to support the U. K. in advance of flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Peter “Wizzer” Wilson, BAE Systems test pilot and ski jump project lead, was at the controls during this test at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River.
He said during the first phase:
“Friday’s F-35B ski jump was a great success for the joint ski jump team. I’m exceptionally proud of this team. Their years of planning, collaboration and training have culminated in a fantastic achievement that advances the future capabilities of the aircraft and its integration into UK operations.”
As explained by the U.K. Defence Journal website, for more than 30 years, the UK has used the ski jump approach to carrier operations as an alternative to the catapults and arresting gear used aboard US aircraft carriers.”
“As expected, aircraft BF-04 performed well and I can’t wait until we’re conducting F-35 ski jumps from the deck of the Queen Elizabeth carrier. Until then, the de-risking that we’re able to achieve now during phase I of our ski jump testing will equip us with valuable data we’ll use to fuel our phase II efforts.”
The F-35B’s design allows it to automatically position the control surfaces and nozzles for takeoff; a unique capability compared with previous short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft. Such automation frees up pilot capacity and provides an added safety enhancement.
The following video shows F-35#BF-02 performing first ever F-35B ski-jump take-off with Paveway IV and ASRAAM.
Photo credit: Arnel Parker