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US Marines F-35B completes first night time SRVL aboard UK's HMS Prince of Wales.

| 2023

According to the US Department of Defense, on the evening of October 29, 2023, a US Marine F-35B Lightning II conducted the first night time Ship Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) on the HMS Prince of Wales, the United Kingdom's second aircraft carrier. This event took place in the Atlantic, off the east coast of the United States, as part of the ongoing Developmental Test Phase 3 (DT-3) for the F-35B.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 US Marine F-35B Lightning II conducted the first nighttime Ship Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) on the HMS Prince of Wales, the United Kingdom's newest aircraft carrier. (Picture source: US DoD)

The DT-3 trials aboard the HMS Prince of Wales have successfully demonstrated several key operational capabilities, including the night time SRVL and the deployment of a fully laden F-35B. These developments are expected to enhance the operational capabilities of the F-35 for the United Kingdom, NATO, and other international operators.

U.S. Marine Corps Major Paul Gucwa was the pilot who performed the nighttime SRVL, marking a significant step in the development of the F-35's operational envelope. The trials are a segment of the WESTLANT 23 deployment, which is focused on increasing the operational capacity of the British warship and further integrating the F-35 as the fifth-generation joint combat aircraft for the U.S. military and its allies.

The United Kingdom is a principal partner in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, which is managed by the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office. The program aims to enhance collaboration and coordination between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy.

This latest test follows the successful daytime vertical flight conducted on October 12, 2023, and is part of a series of naval aircraft trials during the WESTLANT 23 operations. These trials are designed to evaluate and enhance the capabilities of naval aviation, including the performance of the F-35s.

The F-35B is designed for a variety of missions, including air-to-surface operations, electronic warfare, and intelligence collection. Its design allows for stealth operations, advanced sensors, and mission systems that enable it to operate in contested environments. The aircraft's sensors provide increased situational awareness, and it can share data securely with other platforms.

The aircraft's STOVL capability allows it to operate from various platforms, such as the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The F-35B is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine, capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 1.6 and operating at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. It has a significant range on internal fuel and can carry a mix of missiles and bombs.

Since becoming operational in July 2015, the F-35 has been a key component of modern military aviation, with the recent tests on the HMS Prince of Wales further demonstrating the aircraft's versatile capabilities.

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