The F-35B’s short-takeoff and vertical lift capability means that it could take off from carriers without the ski-jump. The ski-jump, though, allows the aircraft to enter the sky with a carrying greater weapons payload to strike more targets and more engine fuel to sustain longer operations.
The above video shows an F-35B armed with a full set of anti-air and anti-ground weapons take-off from a ski ramp for the first time ever, IHS Jane’s reported on Sunday. The trial flight took place in early August at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
The F-35 joint strike fighter includes a host of extra hidden costs “buried in defense contracts” that render each UK-purchased F-35 almost twice as expensive as the sticker price, F-16 aircraft engineer Pierre Sprey told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear in July.
The ski-jump launch system will be used on the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the HMS Prince of Wales (currently under construction) and perhaps aboard Italian carriers for F-35-specific operations, the Jane’s report added. The Queen Elizabeth is slated to arrive back at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth as soon as this week after undergoing sea trials.