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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

U.K. Completes First F-35 Vertical Landing

Royal Air Force (RAF) Squadron Leader Jim Schofield completed the first vertical landing with Lockheed Martin's F-35B Lightning II fighter jet last week.

Rolls-Royce designed the vertical lift system for the F-35 to give pilots the option to perform short takeoff and vertical landings (STOVL) on shortened or damaged runways. In May, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) completed the first-ever vertical takeoff with the F-35.

"With F-35B, at the press of a button the aircraft transforms into ‘short take-off or vertical landing’ mode whereupon the aircraft can take off or hover hands-off," said Schofield. "This means pilots will require less training and operating the aircraft will be much safer than legacy types. It’s a fantastic aircraft to fly.”

Initial Operational Capability for the F-35B's STOVL system is expected by 2015.

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