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Around The Fleet

Catching Lightning

An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conducted it's first arrested landing aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Nov. 3

Navy test pilot Cmdr. Tony Wilson, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, landed the F-35C test aircraft CF-73 at 12:17 p.m. on board Nimitz.

"I was one person in the cockpit, and it's taken thousands of people and years to get us out here," said Wilson.

The aircraft is expected to be on board for two weeks conducting initial at-sea Development Testing I (DT-1) to perform a variety of operational maneuvers, including catapult takeoffs, arrested landings, maintenance exercises and support equipment tests to ensure the fifth-generation fighter is fully capable to deploy to the fleet in 2018.

"The digital backbone, the way it integrates the sensor information and weapons information is very important to the high-end battle space that the Navy and Marine Corps will operate in the future," said Vice Adm. David H. Buss, Commander, Naval Air Forces.

The F-35 combines advanced stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fused targeting, cutting-edge avionics, advanced jamming, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. With a broad wingspan, reinforced landing gear, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the F-35C is designed to stand up to harsh shipboard conditions while delivering a lethal combination of fighter capabilities to the fleet.

"If I had to pick an aircraft carrier to do our initial at-sea testing it would be USS Nimitz," said Buss. "This ship, in its day, was revolutionary for the United States Navy exactly the way the F-35C is."