USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- More than 10 Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) 35 design engineers came aboard USS Nassau (LHA 4) on March 9 to observe AV-8B Harrier vertical short take off and landings (VSTOL).
Lockheed Martin used the visit to familiarize the designers of the JSF-35 VSTOL aircraft with some of the operational and environmental challenges of shipboard life.
"The engineers who were solely involved in the design of the Joint Strike Fighter 35 were embarked on Nassau to understand the impacts and challenges this aircraft will face operating in the shipboard maritime environment. These engineers have never been on a ship of this type to feel the power and thrust of a Harrier jet at take off and landing," said Nassau Air Boss Cmdr. Leonard Loughran.
Highlights of their visit included touring primary flight control, hanger bay, the flight deck during flight quarters, and speaking with Sailors and Marines who carry out the everyday duties of maintenance on aircraft.
"The insights we gather from these embark opportunities have value that is hard to pin a price tag on. I never cease to be amazed at how smart and dedicated our young Marines and Sailors really are. No doubt we all returned with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment," Kenneth G. Gigliotti, former U.S. Navy Tomcat pilot and one of the visitors said.
In addition to taking a tour of the ship, Gigliotti and the design engineers received a presentation in the wardroom.
Nassau Commanding Officer Capt. John Roberti was presented with a model of the JFS-35 VSTOL jet and a first flight coin.
"It was a very nice gift and a good memento of their visit. I hope we learned as much from them as they learned from us," said Roberti.
The first JSF-35 flew for the first time on Dec. 15 from Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. With 40,000 pounds of thrust, this multirole aircraft is considered to be the most powerful single-engine fighter in history and it is designed to replace the F-16, F/A-18 Hornet, the Harrier and the A-10, according to Lockheed Martin.
For related news, visit the USS Nassau (LHA 4) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/lha4/.