Here’s some more video (after the jump) of the Marine Corps’ F-35B Joint Strike Fighter performing short take-offs and vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp on Monday. Remember, Monday’s flights marked the first time the F-35B has operated from a ship (and may very well be the first time that a stealth jet has ever flown from a ship).
Check out what may be a special heat resistant coating applied to the Wasp’s landing strip in the picture above (compare that image to the picture below showing MV-22 Ospreys taking off from a similar spot on the Wasp’s deck). The coating is likely there to protect the flight deck from the massive amount of hot air generated by the F-35’s massive Pratt & Whitney F135 engine — one the most powerful fighter engines of all time. Hey, maybe it’s just a fresh coat of anti-skid, but I doubt it. Also notice how that deck-side radome visible in the picture below isn’t in the picture showing the F-35B landing. I Wonder if it was removed due to the possibility that it could be damaged by the F-35’s exhaust?