F-35C Catapults Off The Deck Of A Super Carrier For The First Time

Illustration for article titled F-35C Catapults Off The Deck Of A Super Carrier For The First Time

The F-35C took its first ride down a ship-borne catapult today as part of its ongoing inaugural sea trials aboard the USS Nimitz. This follows yesterday's history making event that saw a pair of F-35Cs, belonging to VX-23, landing on a carrier for the first time ever.

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Once aboard, there is only two ways off a nuclear super carrier for a fighter jet. One is via a dockside crane, the other is by riding one of the ship's four catapults. Today, the 17 ton jet took the catapult option, and did so in grand fashion and repeated it a few times, along with more arrested landings.

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Illustration for article titled F-35C Catapults Off The Deck Of A Super Carrier For The First Time
Illustration for article titled F-35C Catapults Off The Deck Of A Super Carrier For The First Time
Illustration for article titled F-35C Catapults Off The Deck Of A Super Carrier For The First Time

Images via DoD.

Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com

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DISCUSSION

I've always liked watching cat-shots from carriers, even though I come from an Air Force background... :) And as I've said before, this plane looks really cool, and I have to admit I like the F-35B (for the same reason I like the AV-8B, it's the coolness factor in watching a jet take off vertically and hover). But for Pete's sake, the contract was signed what...13 years ago? And the first flight was about 8 years ago? I just can't celebrate something that has taken so long to begin practical trials and has such a huge cost over-run. And I'm a bit skeptical about it being able to truly replace the F-16, F-18, AV-8B, and the A-10...but hey, I'm not an engineer, or a big muckity-muck in the DOD, I'm just one of the little guys helping pay for the dang thing. All-in-all, I'd rather have had the Gripen or the Eurofighter, would have saved us literally several boat-loads of money (think what we could have bought for the Navy with the money).