Video of the Second F-35B Test Jet Making a Vertical Landing

Here’s some film of the second F-35B short take-off and vertical landing Joint Strike Fighter test plane making its first vertical landing on Jan. 6 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

The flight comes roughly a week after Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he’s putting the Marine Corps’ F-35B on a two year probation due to the fact that the STOVL jet is experiencing numerous testing problems than may lead to a redesign of the engine and parts of the airframe. If Lockheed and the F-35 program office can’t get the B-model back on track within two years, it’s done.

If the B is axed, the big question will be; what’s the future of Marine Corps fixed-wing tacair?

  • blight

    In ’91 the Marines served as a force in being for a prospective amphibious landing on Kuwait City. I wonder if anybody wargamed it with just embarked aircraft and saw whether or not multiples of six AC was worth it.

    Tiltrotor osprey gunship?

  • @Earlydawn

    I’m curious as to whether there is a market for the B in South Korea. Any kind of shooting war between the two Koreas would likely lead to airbases on both sides of the DMZ being crippled. The F-35B could give South Korea a robust austere basing capability. Plus, the weight parameters wouldn’t hurt them badly, given the distances involved.

    Taking the six-hundred-odd Marine Corps order and expanding it to nine-hundred or a thousand through South Korea could breath new life and affordability into the F-35B.

    • Vitor

      The Gripen can land and take off from standard roads and it’s much cheaper to buy and maintain.

      • tee

        Vitor: Your right The Gripen NG can land on a 600 meter 2 lane highway and take off fully loaded on 800 meters of that 2 lane highway. It’s airframe is 70% composite ( very small radar signature). It has AESA radar, it has IRST sensors, super cruises at mach 1.3, can be carrier ready very quickly ( India,Brazil or looking at it ). It has fired the Ramjet Meteor missile. It’s a true 4.8 Gen fighter and cost 60 million. The whole F-35 program set to spend 385 billion for 2,443 aircraft. Kill the F-35 and see below.

        3000 Gripen NG’s 60 million = 180 Billion
        600 F-22’s 120 million = 72 Billion
        400 F-15E Silent Eagles 100 million 40 Billion
        Total 292 Billion
        385 Billion minus 292 billion = 93 Billion in savings plus we get 1,557 more aircraft.
        So save 92 Billion get more planes that work and Gates gets his savings ,Marines keep their ELV & Ospreys.

        • SMSgt Mac

          292 Bilion for 600 Raptors and 3400 targets. What a bargain.

          BTW all: Trimble has a similar post up at Flight Global (the main site: not his DEWline) only far more factual with deatils and 90% less woe-is-them handwringing. No massive problems that can’t be fixed within a reasonable timeframe and budget.

          And remember, if we expected everythng to go right the first time we would call it ‘Flight Demonstration’ and not ‘Flight Test’.

        • Justin H

          F-22 $143million

          • tee

            Justin H: Latest figure on the F-22 was 120 million.

            SMSgt Mac: Read up on the Gripen, you would be surprised. When the older Gripen C/D model flew against the F-16’s & F-15’s and F-22’s in Red Flag, in Alaska, and in Arizona they were only taken out successfully by the F-22, and not all the time. The US pilot’s that flew against it were very impressed.The Gripen NG is much more advanced than the older C/D models. And for stealth the new AESA radars can detect many so called stealth air vehicles. With Raytheon’s X band & Northrop Grumman’s L band. So the survivability of one way ( front only ) Stealth of the F-35 could be in doubt.

    • Justin H

      They dont seem that interested in F-35. They are planning on developing their own Gen 4.5 fighter.

      • tee

        Why would they be, maybe the F-22, but not the F-35

  • Justin H

    Speaking of F-35… AF secretary says F-35A IOC likely to slip.…

    Man I love this whole 1 plane for 3 services idea!

    • William C.

      Generally I have been supportive of the F-35 program, but this is simply insane, did we not just delay the F-35B for the purpose of getting the F-35A and F-35C on service on time?

    • chaos0xomega

      It wouldn’t be a bad idea if it were done right. One plane for three services, not three variants of one plane for three services. Axe the A and the B, and everyone can go to the C. If the Marines don’t like it, tough crap. They don’t need something this complicated and this advanced. If anything, COIN aircraft are right up their alley. AT-6s or Super Tucano’s are perfect for austere airfields, etc. and I would think they should be capable of operating from an amphib.

      • @Earlydawn

        I don’t know. The C has published stats that aren’t conducive to the Within Visual Range dogfight. I do wonder if it’s possible to take the C variant and denavalize it - lose the hinged wings, heavier landing gear - and turn it into the F-35D land-based strike variant.

        • blight

          I thought the F-4 was the Navy craft with specs not conducive to Within Visual Range.

          Deja Vu.

      • Justin H

        C variant is the most expensive though. I would say 2 slightly different planes for the 3 services. 1 for AF (CTOL), and 1 for Navy and Marines (STOL).

        • Justin H

          Notice I said STOL not STOvL.

          • Justin H


  • blight

    On paper Jointing should work. But look at the F-111, which was another “joint” program of its time.

    Perhaps we’re asking for too high parts commonality, which leads to platform design compromises?

  • prometheusgonewild

    Random thought of the day:
    If Sikorsky builds a larger version of their X2 technology, could they conceivably replace the idea of Marine fixed wing aircraft for those?
    Marine aircraft is not about dogfighting, that what the Navy carrier are there for. The Harriers today and the F-35B are there to support the troops with bombs,missiles and strafing.
    Granted, the X2 helicopters would be slower, but they would have the range and be able to carry the same munitions. They would also be a lot easier to maintain, launch and land.
    I think the concept may be more sustainable financially in the long run considering budgeting issues that we are going to face in the next few years…..

  • what

    America is entitled to the right to bears arms (just ask the NRA). I want my F-35! How much is the retail price?

    • crackedlenses

      No trolls wanted here; I think there’s a news site somewhere that is missing you sorely…..

  • Anthony

    Fighter Planes are for the USAF and the Navy’s Carrier Fleets…THATS IT. The Marines are ground attack units who are Never going to be sent in alone. In the second decade of the 21st century military planners need to start giving the Marines what they really need, like a gunned up armored Sikorsky x3 something or … Don’t say it …. A revival of the P-47D for close air support in Afghanistan…but if we used some of our technology is practical ways like that we would have won the war already and these corporations stringing along our government wouldn’t be making Billions each year on all the screw ups. Clean up the military-industrial complex with Americans who want whats best for our nation and our child’s future, not whats best for Lockheed Martin shareholders. Its happening slowly but surely, as new people join the military with new ideas, the old fat generals gripping onto their outdated military planning are slowly, but surely, being replaced one by one by younger, more open and Logical thinkers.

    • Anthony

      I really wish theyd get the plane working though its probably one of the coolest planes ive ever seen. Maybe make a Navy F22 and Only use the vertical take off version? Then export the Shit out of them like the Harrier. Now our allies have mobile high tech air force capability and we have 500+ F22s that are half price and keep Thousands of high tech American jobs!

  • what

    America has the right to bear arms! F-35B now!

  • Maxtrue…

    • @Earlydawn

      Eric Palmer is a mouthpiece. The F-35 isn’t an ideal aircraft, but he makes it sound like it would be schwacked by every aircraft in the sky, which is pretty silly. The F-22 isn’t the panacea to China anyway.. the NGB is.

  • Maxtrue

    Better we build an F-35B drone. That would solve the problems and by-pass the weight to thrust problems.

    • Ben

      replacing a 200 lb pilot isn’t going to solve squat.

      Yeah you save on the cockpit equipment, but you have to replace it with nearly as much weight in the remote control hardware. (including a big ass gimbaled receiver dish right under the canopy.)

      The real benefit of drone control is not needing to send a very expensive trained pilot into the warzone.

      The problem with drones is that you still need one trained pilot per aircraft if you ever need to do any combat maneuvering. The auto-pilot can fly the entire mission profile short of weapon release, but without direct control, it is a non-maneuvering sitting duck.

      • Ben

        c0ckpit is censored… why?

        • Ben


        • Andrew

          Language filters think that you’re typing C O C K by itself. That’s why.

      • blight

        There’s probable latency with sat-link transmissions, which isn’t conducive to great dogfighting. Not sure if UAV remote communications have been tested in a jamming environment.

        The last air to air engagement I can recall with UAVs was against a Mig, using Stingers; and the UAV lost. This isn’t indicative of long term trends, however. If they ever perceive the next fight to be against someone with an air force, I imagine UAVs may lose ground surveillance packages in favor of radar and air to air missiles. But we’re not there yet…

  • ThunderFromDownUnder

    The twits in Canberra will never do it, but I wish they would buy a couple of squadrons of 35Bs for our new Canberra class LHDs, that way they could serve as STOVL Carriers when not delivering troops to foreign shores.

  • Brian Black

    If the USMC is worried about a shortage of aircraft -should the F35B encounter any more problems- the UK’s Harrier GR9 fleet is sitting gathering dust in hangers at RAF Cottesmore, England.

    There’s nothing wrong with them. They were recently taken out of service purely because the UK can’t afford to operate them.

    The marine corps should maybe pop down there and snap them up before they get sold off to anyone else.

    • blight

      That’s actually brilliant.

  • Justin H

    Facts are facts, and the fact is they should have either cancelled or cut the number of F-35s a couple years ago. But they were/are too affraid to! When was the last time we cancelled a fighter that was in development…?

  • billmil

    Lets see F-35B overweight, years behind, limited bring back because of weight. Afterburner screech in the F-135 (But why do we need another engine program?)__Cracking bulkheads, caused by trying save weight, which will result in another redesign. Questions still on deck effects because of engine exhaust heat and design compromise in the A and C version because of the VTOL requirements. I could go on but whats the point. This whole program has turned into a slow motion train wreck and no one is willing to stand up and say so__Maybe its time to just say no, The Marines never have used the Harrier in ops like was claimed they would be used years ago. The Marines should either be happy with more F-18’s or just give up all fixed wing to the USN and concentrate on gaining new heavy lift like new build MH-53’s instead of pouring more money down the V-22 rat hole. (Another discussion point)__

  • DTK

    Why doesn’t the marines just buy more, or redesign the A-10 for their ground attack roles
    -Not flying 10,000+ feet from our troops
    -100% better at strafing
    -100% more affective
    -Can be deployed in LARGER #s
    -Is a proven wepons platform
    -Just knows how to get the job done

  • Justin H

    Pre-JSF concept from Northrup…

  • Coolhand77

    Hey, they did that test on my birthday! COOL!
    Too bad the program is foundering…perhaps they should have tried for an evolutionary design instead of revolutionary. I seem to recall a “Super Harrier” concept that predated the X32/X35 flyoff by quite a bit, and was to have stealth, improved avionics, and even afterburner [I think it predated supercruise]