Video: F-35B Conducts First Ever Vertical Take Off

F-35 VTOLockheed Martin released the video of the first ever Vertical Take Off conducted by an F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) Lightning II test aircraft. The test was completed May 10 at Naval Air Station Patuxen River, Md.

The historic, albeit brief, flight occurred just a month after the Joint Strike Fighter program completed the first ever F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing during a night-time test mission. the F-35B is the Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter.

The vertical take off is not a combat capability, however, it is a requirement for the fielding of the F-35B fleet. The vertical take off capability will used rarely, likely only to move the aircraft’s position on a flight deck. The majority of the time, the F-35B will complete a short take off.

The Joint Strike Fighter program first executed a vertical take off with the X-35B in 2001. While the vertical take off will be rare, the pilots will not perform arrested landings. The F-35B will complete vertical landings, which Lockheed has completed about 400 so far this year.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • zoomanager

    wait this is sopose to be news? after so many years and bilions of dolars, F-35 finaly takes off verticaly?

  • Taylor

    I can’t get enough videos of the F-35s or the Ospreys doing their thing. Vertical takeoff and landing is really something.

  • tee

    The British are very worried about the F-35B in Hot, Humid Weather.
    Defense-Aerospace “Navy Carrier Jets ‘Can’t Land In Hot Weather’
    . http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/rel…
    .
    . So just how is it going to work for the Marines in the Pacific??

    • blight_

      Low pressure and hot and humid are trouble for almost any aircraft. Though I suppose the question is do STOL turboprops, helicopters and tiltrotors (or legacy Harrier) do better than JSF-B?

      Anyways:
      http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/…

      —————-
      19 The Department will have to actively manage technological risks to the
      cost-efficient delivery of Carrier Strike in adverse weather conditions. The
      STOVL variant is unable to land vertically on to a carrier in hot, humid and low pressure
      weather conditions without having to jettison heavy loads. The Department advised
      decision-makers of this risk but stated that it is confident that the solution it is developing,
      called Ship-borne Rolling Vertical Landing, will be ready by 2020 (paragraph 3.10).

      3.10 An important enabler of the UK’s STOVL Carrier Strike capability will be the ability
      to conduct Ship-borne Rolling Vertical Landings (SRVL). This landing technique will be
      necessary where a conventional vertical landing is less likely to be possible without
      jettisoning large weapons or fuel load when in hot, humid or low pressure weather
      conditions.15 At present the technology is not proven with redesigns required to the
      carrier deck and aircraft software. The capability will be required for operations by 2020
      and the Department included a provision to complete development as part of the cost of
      reverting to STOVL. The Department is confident it will develop the technique within the
      required timescale

      So there you have it. If you don’t kill something, don’t carry it back home in high heat and low pressure…

      • tee

        Just like the cost will come down like LM’s $60-7-Million a piece price tag, I’ll believe it when I read the GOA reports.

        • blight_

          The NAO is the equivalent of our GAO.

          “The National Audit Office (NAO) scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament.

          Our audit of central government has two main aims. By reporting the results of our audits to Parliament, we hold government departments and bodies to account for the way they use public money, thereby safeguarding the interests of taxpayers. In addition, our work aims to help public service managers improve performance and service delivery.

          The Audit and inspection rights are vested in the head of the National Audit Office, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG). The staff of the NAO carry out these tasks on his behalf.”

    • RunningBear

      They are Brits, they didn’t invent it therefore it’s suspect! I am certain that it’s not currently hot and humid cruising up and down the channel. They can’t afford fuel to travel much further than the local scenery. :)

      • Beno

        Morning from the UK :)

        FYI the entire additional VTOL parts for the B versions is Roll Royce made. So if it dont work its our fault. I think you can take that as a garentee.

        As far as funding goes. You might want to look at the state of your own finances before making any wild claims ?

        I get the feeling youll be seeing ALOT more Royal Navy Escorts to USN carrier groups in the near future.

      • LPF

        Seeing as Us brits got the only proper working V/STOL fighter , which doesnt require alift and its still in service and has seen combat, lets say , we know what were talking about on the subject you numpty!

  • mpower6428

    not worth the asking price.

  • Rob

    It would be awesome if they could fly from being stationary in the air
    and not just move up and down.

    • RunningBear

      they can!

  • Hunter76

    “The vertical take off is not a combat capability”. Sounds like a free bail-out clause for Lockmart.

    “The vertical take off capability will [be] used rarely, likely only to move the aircraft’s position on a flight deck.” A whole lot of money, weight, and equipment to stick in a high performance aircraft for something that will be rarely used, and not for combat purposes.

  • USS ENTERPRISE

    So, uh, it took “Lockmart” 12 YEARS to release the first test? I have seen it VTOL in video before.

  • Bobby

    Vertical takeoff is very rarely employed with a VTOL aircraft. Although it can do it, doing so consumes too much fuel and is very limiting on weapons load. So, the standard combat flight profile for VTOL aircraft is short takeoff and vertical landing. That’s far more efficient and combat effective, and the F-35 offers leap-ahead capability in this flight profile…….

    • Steve B.

      @Bobby, This was what I was wondering. The British design their carriers with a ramp specifically to help rolling take-off. Do they ever really use the vertical take-off capability ?.

      OTOH, you might well need that ability if you ever want to re-fuel from a heli-capable frigate/other ship that can currently handle helicopters, thus no rolling take-off. But how often and is it just as easy to assume a slight limitation in either fuel or weapons load in that scenario ?.

  • RunningBear

    F-35B VTO to a waiting V-22 tanker is bringing new thoughts to flexibility!

  • Amicus Curiae

    Some useful information that is never reported is what weight was the aircraft and what was the atmospheric condition (i.e. temp). Until that is revealed, I can’t make an assessment on whether this jet is a success. I am looking for the capability to wave off (arrest the sink rate) a vertical decent at a weight of 38,800 lb on a 90 degree day. That would impress me. Anyone have that info? Anyone…(crickets chirping)?

  • wmcritter

    I’m not in the military so obviously I may be missing something, but why are we doing STOVL at all? I can’t see any use for it in modern warfare. I try to imagine any scenario in which it might be needed, and I can’t come up with anything. This is not WWII where we are island hopping and working from short, unprepared runways. Our air power operates from large established bases with long runways, or from super carriers. If a carrier can’t reach, or a base is too far away, we have fleets of refueling planes to extend our range. And if all else fails, and no plane can reach, we have cruise missiles that can. So in what realistic scenario would we ever need STOVL? The Brits need it to fly off their mini-carriers, but we don’t.
    It seems like an incredible waste trying to maintain a weapon that has no place in modern war.

  • Meatpopsicle

    Funny to see this released now. I guess Lockheed doesn’t want NG stealing the show with their X-47B.

  • Dennis

    The Achilles Heel of a Jet Aircraft is the ability to just get off the ground. This thing needs no ground, it just goes up and forward. Or it just goes forward and up. Which ever is necessary or most practical. This aircraft will be in the air when others are helpless on the ground. Possibly this aircraft will land on ground, not possible for anything but a helicopter to land on. It adds to the armamentarium of our national security. Airports, runways, are now optional.

    However I do wonder about the operation in sand, heavy dust, etc.

    I believe it is worthy of development, even if it is expensive. An Ace in the Hole.

    • blight_

      I think you’re using the phrase Achilles Heel a little loosely. That said, any heavier-than-air object must fight physics to get off the ground.

  • The Old Bear

    “An the Oscar for best Special Effects in a short film goes to Lockheed Martin for the vertical take off of the F-35B”

    2014 Oscar awards.

  • Danny

    So can the F35 actually transition to forward flight after a vertical take off? Or does it just hover and come back down?

  • bet angel
  • SFP

    It would be awesome if they could fly from being stationary in the air
    and not just move up and down.

  • SFP

    Vertical takeoff is very rarely employed with a VTOL aircraft. Although it can do it, doing so consumes too much fuel and is very limiting on weapons load. So, the standard combat flight profile for VTOL aircraft is short takeoff and vertical landing. That’s far more efficient and combat effective, and the F-35 offers leap-ahead capability in this flight profile…….

  • ben maluti

    the vtol is a rare occasion to view and it sounds miraculous to witness an aircraft lifting itself up and down vertically,what a power

  • abvisor

    the interest and commitment in such a craft may not just be in its ability to VTL/VL but the availability of runways in future conflict at home or abroad.