DoD Buzz

Lockheed: Many F-35B landings won't be vertical

A Marine Corps photo set this week shows a squadron of veteran AV-8B Harriers at work in Afghanistan supporting troops on the ground, and it brought to mind one of the capabilities the Marines' F-35B Lightning II will have that the Harrier doesn't. Everybody knows that the B can  "transform," like a Decepticon, for short takeoffs and vertical landings on Navy amphibious ships at sea. But unlike a Harrier, the B also can land like a conventional airplane, said Lockheed Martin vice president Steve O'Bryan at the company's big media day last month.

So what, you might say. Well, the Harrier doesn't land conventionally: Every time it comes back, even to a ground base, it needs to do a vertical landing or a rolling vertical landing, O'Bryan said, burning fuel and working its jet nozzles more or less the same way. But if a Lightning II pilot wants to, she'll be able to land down a runway like a normal fighter jet, without engaging the lift fan or all those other ports and hatches and bells and whistles.

If many -- or most -- of the flights that a fighter makes over its life are not under operational circumstances, because pilots are training or ferrying their jets, that could mean that a typical B won't need its vertical landing capability most of the time.

"I don't want to speak for the Marine Corps, but as we do analysis for the STOVL variant, [we think] most of the landings will be conventional landings -- you can come back and land on a normal 8,000-foot airstrip without stressing all those components," O'Bryan said. "Of course it's up to the operational units, but why would I stress those if I don't have to? ... That is an option that's not available on the current generation of STOVL airplanes."

 

Show Full Article

Related Topics

DoDBuzz

November is Military Family Appreciation Month

Throughout the month, military families are honored and recognized for their commitment and contributions in support of our military and nation.

View the Tribute

Most Popular Military News