The second round of F-35B ski ramp testing continues to support the United Kingdom in advance of flight trials from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
This test featured externally mounted ASRAAMs and Paveway bombs, weapons that will be used by the UK on these aircraft.
The flights were carried out by Peter Wilson, the BAE Systems test pilot and ski jump project lead. He said during the first phase:
“Friday’s F35B 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.”
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 F35 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 F35B’s design allows it to automatically position the control surfaces and nozzles for takeoff; a unique capability compared with previous STOVL aircraft. Such automation frees up pilot capacity and provides an added safety enhancement.