An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches for the first time from the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system. The new launch system will be installed on the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear to withstand catapult launches and deck landing impacts associated with the demanding aircraft carrier environment. Initial carrier trials for the F-35C are scheduled for 2013. The F-35C is undergoing test and evaluation at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst before delivery to the fleet.
U.S. Navy photo by David Sckrabulis/Released
Photo source: US Navy