The military’s new Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C Lightning II, made a ceremonious landing aboard an aircraft carrier on Monday off the coast of San Diego. The history-making event was made possible by an arrested landing, in which a wire stretched across the carrier’s deck was used to stop the plane. “This will be one landing out of thousands more that will happen over the next few decades,” Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, executive officer of the Pentagon’s F-35 program, said in a statement.
The F-35C landed aboard the USS Nimitz, the oldest active carrier in the Navy’s fleet. Tony Wilson, Navy Commander and test pilot who executed the brilliant landing, said he was “very excited to see America’s newest aircraft on the flight deck of her oldest aircraft carrier.”
The F-35C is just one version of the aircraft that the Pentagon has developed for use by the Marines and Air Force as well.
The F-35B, the Marine Corps version, is equipped with short take-off and vertical landing capability and began testing aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in 2011.
More than 100 planes have been built so far, most for testing, but the program is still in its development and training phases.
The jets were temporarily grounded earlier this year following a fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. No one was hurt.
The military says the stealth fighter will be “the most affordable, lethal, supportable and survivable aircraft ever to be used.” The Pentagon has plans for the manufacture of 2,400 more of the planes, the development of which has cost $400 billion so far. Still, Obama has cut funding for the revolutionary project by 50%.
The Navy hopes to have the F-35C fully operational by 2018. Let us know what you think of the epic footage in the comments section!