Pilots For First Time Fly F-35B Stationed Aboard Assault Ship as Warplane Faces Scores of Problems

US

Earlier this year, the developers of the US fifth generation fighter F-35 admitted that supersonic speeds could cause serious problems for the Navy and Marine Corps’ versions of the warplane.

US Air Force (USAF)’s Spencer G. Weide and Justin J. Newman became the first pilots to fly the F-35B Lightning II aboard an amphibious assault ship, according to a Marine Corps news release. The F-35B is the stealth warplane’s special version designed for vertical or short takeoffs and landings.

The pilots “made history” as part of integrated drills aboard the USS America in the Eastern Pacific which were held earlier this week.

“This is a unique opportunity for the Air Force to integrate with Marines and sailors overseas,” Weide said, noting that integration was “the whole purpose of this training.”

“With the Marines, Navy and Air Force, we are able to build that integrated team,” he added.

He was echoed by Newman who underscored the importance of integrated training which he said would help the pilots “learn the naval and Marine warfare functions” and would also allow them “to return the knowledge back to the Air Force for better future integration.”

The remarks come a few months after the website Defence News cited developers of the F-35 programme as admitting that the F-35Bs can only fly at supersonic speeds for a short period of time because “there is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth…

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