Thursday, July 14, 2011

AirForces Monthly 2010-05

LOCKEED MARTIN'S F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter achieved another milestone on March 18, when BF-01 made the first vertical landing by the type. F-35 Lead STOVL pilot Graham lomlinson from BAE Systems performed an 80kt (148km/h) short take-off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. He then positioned the aircraft at 150ft (45m) and hovered for one minute before descending to the runway. BF-1 is one of three STOVL F-35Bs now undertaking flight trials at Patuxent River, (he most recent arrival was BF-03, the third F-35B, which had made its first flight at Fort Worth, Texas, on February 2 (see Fifth F-35 Begins Flight-Testing, April, pi 7), then flew here on February 17. On April 2, 2010, the US Marine Corps (USMC) will officially stand-up Marine l ighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, as part of the Joint Integrated Training Center for the JSF. This will enable the USMC to commence training of Marine pilots and ground crew in autumn 2010. The USMC anticipates achieving F-35B initial operational capability (IOC) in December 2012. IOC is defined as having the first F-35B training squadron (VMFAT-501) with 15 aircraft at Eglin, an operational test and evaluation detachment of four aircraft at Edwards AFB, California, and ten aircraft with VMFA 332, the first operation squadron, at MCAS Yuma, Arizona.