Defense contractor Lockheed Martin says their F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) Lightning II test aircraft completed the first-ever Vertical Takeoff (VTO) of the F-35B variant on 10 May 2013. The location was Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, according to the statement issued by Lockheed.
An F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant and an F-35C carrier aircraft type fly in formation over Fort Worth, Texas, on March 14, 2013. Lockheed Martin says the F-35B will be delivered to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, while the F-35C will go to the U.S. Navy at Eglin Air Force Base later in 2013. Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin
According to Lockheed, while not a combat capability, VTOs are required for fielding the F-35B. For example, for repositioning of the STOVL in environments where a jet could not perform a short takeoff. In that scenario an F-35B Lightning II carrying a reduced fuel load would execute a VTO to relocate a short distance.
Another view of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the Marine Corps’ first operational F-35B squadron (Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona), conducting the first short takeoff/vertical landing operations at the base 21 March 21 2013. F-35B Lightning II Picture courtesy Lockheed Martin.
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