F-35C Lightning II fighter aircraft in service with the US Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 125 have carried out their Operational Test-1 (OT-1) on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
OT-1 has been conducted by the navy squadron in collaboration with Carrier Air Wing 7 and Carrier Strike Group 12.
The operational test has been designed to evaluate the complete range of the aircraft suitability to conduct operation within a carrier air wing and ensure optimum mission effectiveness.
The F-35C variant collects information and transfers it to other F-35 jets in the air, as well as to legacy aircraft, carrier air wings, strike groups and ground troops, improving the battle capability of the fleet.
During the test, evaluators assessed the suitability of the aircraft on board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, demonstrating its ability to operate together with other aircraft.
In addition, the OT-1 evaluators also tested the effectiveness of the fighter jet in realistic scenarios.
Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration Office director rear admiral Dale Horan said: “This is the first time we really see how the aircraft works on the aircraft carrier, how we do maintenance and sustain it while we’re at sea, how it integrates with the ship, how it interoperates with communications, datalinks, the other aircraft, and how we conduct missions and tie in to other aircraft when we conduct missions.”
The test provides the US Navy with an assessment of how the Lockheed Martin-developed F-35C Lightning II would perform after being deployed into service.
OT-1 will lay the groundwork for future F-35C deployments on board other US Navy aircraft carriers following the initial operating capability declaration for the aircraft.