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F-35B to visit USS America in October

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posted on Aug, 30 2016 @ 08:19 PM
The next round of ship testing for the F-35B will be to embark on the USS America (LHA-6) in October. The ship came out of a maintenance period in March, after undergoing modifications, including adding Thermion and strengthening to the deck. The Thermion coating on the aft of the deck is already proving its worth. An MV-22 on board was forced to sit and wait to takeoff when a helicopter in front of it required maintenance. The aircraft was able to sit with nacelles rotated, blowing exhaust on the deck for 15-20 minutes with no damage to the deck. The non-Thermion areas would have been destroyed and the non-skid damaged badly in that situation.

The crews are also having to travel to various F-35 locations to learn how to firefight, tie the airframe down properly without damaging it, tower training and more. They have also had to develop a new headset for deck crew, due to the noise level of the engines. The lessons learned during this testing will be passed on to the USS Essex, which is undergoing maintenance and upgrades now in preparation for the F-35B to deploy on her deck.

Amphibious assault ship USS America’s (LHA-6) deck crew is gearing up for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter testing this fall, with ship modifications for the new plane complete but crew training still ongoing.

The Navy and Marine Corps will test the new short-takeoff vertical-landing plane on the newest big-deck amphib in October. The ship came out of a maintenance availability in March with physical modifications to support the bigger and more powerful jet, but America‘s assistant air department head told USNI News aboard the ship last month that the crew would be busy preparing for F-35 in the intervening months.

The department plans to send 30 to 40 crew members to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina for F-35B handling and firefighting training, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Miller said. While the deck crew of the amphibious assault ships already handles both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, the JSF presents some unique challenges.

Noting that the F-35 stores its weapons internally to stay stealthy, the mini boss said that “normally the first thing we do if there’s a fire on deck is we put cooling water on the ordnance. Now if the ordnance is inside the aircraft, how are we supposed to cool the ordnance? This is a technical problem that we haven’t totally gotten the answer for yet, we’re hoping they’re going to come up with something. But in the mean time we’ll go there, we’ll get training on the uniqueness of the airframe, how to properly tie it down – being that it’s more composite than ever, the techniques you use on how to chain it down, how tight they are and everything else become more and more important so that we don’t mess up a $100-million jet.”
edit on 8/30/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 31 2016 @ 08:22 AM
The F-35B will also be deploying to the Middle East embarked on USS Wasp and USS Essex next year.

Regarding the fire fighting procedure, perhaps they could build a special trolley to shoot water upwards?
edit on 31/8/16 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 31 2016 @ 02:00 PM
No doubt more Royal Navy personnel will be included in the America's crew (as on the Wasp) so we can get much needed experience on F35 ship ops.

I've heard from some of the future 35 OCU boys that it's already been decided like Harrier, vertical take offs & landings will only ever be a last resort manoeuvre, to reduce airframe and engine stresses, saving fuel etc therefore opting for rolling immediate-brakes-on landings (hit the deck, hit the anchor as harrier pilots named it) and ski jump launches which are much safer in heavy seas etc

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