F-35B fighter jet completes testing aboard USS Wasp
US and UK officials the Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35B fighter jet can operate and be serviced at sea.
The statement came following nearly two weeks of testing of the jet on a ship, which was operating off of the North Carolina coast.
The testing proved that new warplane is set to mark another step to for initial combat use by the Marine Corps.
Marine Corps spokesman Major Paul Greenberg said that from May 18 to May 26, six F-35 B-model jets, completed 98 separate flights, logging 73.1 flight hours, on the USS Wasp.
The jets were due complete a final day of flight tests on Wednesday from the ship, which is operating about 100 miles off North Carolina coast. The work will be completed by maintainers working on the jets on Friday.
Lieutenant General Jon Davis, the top Marine in charge of aviation said that the testing on the ship revealed that the airplane is right at home at sea. During the test, the reporters were ferried to and from the Wasp.
Davis said that new jets will allow Marines to fly stealthy jets off warships for the first time. It would expand the US military's ability to respond to crises.
Davis will attend meetings in Norway this week with the major companies and countries involved in the $391 billion weapons program. He mentioned that the Marines remained on track to declare an initial squadron of 10 jets ready for combat use in July.
He added that the work was still under progress to retrofit those initial jets. After the operational testing, some changes in ship maintenance procedures would be made. However, no showstoppers had emerged to disrupt the planned declaration around July 15.