The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft completed its 500th vertical landing August 3. BF-1, the aircraft which completed this achievement, also accomplished the variant’s first vertical landing in March 2009 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
Next week’s sea trials, known as Developmental Test 2 (DT-2) are scheduled to begin for the F-35B variant onboard the USS WASP. DT-2 is the second of three planned tests aimed at defining and expanding the F-35B’s shipboard operating envelope for the U.S. Marine Corps. The first shipboard testing phase was successfully completed in October 2011. The upcoming Sea Trials are key to declaring F-35 Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the U.S. Marine Corps in 2015.