F-35B test aircraft BF-05 departs USS America (LHA 6) on November 11, with four inert 500lb GBU-12 Paveway II laserguided test bombs on the underwing pylons.
Lockheed Martin/Darin Russell

FIVE OF A planned complement of seven Lockheed Martin F-35Bs touched down on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) on October 28. Two of the aircraft supported the third shipboard phase of developmental test (DT-III) and five were tasked with operational testing over a period of three weeks. Conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF), DT-III was intended to evaluate Block 3F software-configured F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) operations in a high sea state, shipboard landings, and night operations.

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