Watch This Insane F-35B Vertical Landing
Despite all of the controversy surrounding Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, the aircraft sure does dazzle. The multirole stealth fighter jet, originally intended to work alongside the F-22 Raptor and ultimately replace the robust but aging F-16, F-18 and AV-8B Harrier, sports at least three unique variants (F-35A, F-35B and F-35C) that provide the airplane with unique operational capabilities. Perhaps the most well-known is the aircraft's ability to hover and perform short take-offs and vertical landings (STOVL), making the jet more versatile, and one of the only stealth fighters in the world capable of such functionality.
Coined a "centerpiece of 21st century global security," the program is backed by at least twelve countries worldwide, but has been met with steady criticism from participating governments and their citizens wary of exceeding budgets — constant modifications have led development to run almost $200 billion over budget and nearly 10 years behind schedule. Slowly but surely, the fighter is being introduced to military fleets in participating nations. In 2015, the STOVL capable F-35B entered service, and last summer the 'A' variant made its debut, while the F-35C is slotted for launch in 2018.
In this crazy aviation video, we take you to Yuma, Arizona to watch an F-35B pilot show off the plane's capabilities in preparation for at-sea deployment. If you look closely at the "runway," it looks exactly like the deck of an aircraft carrier suited for this kind of aircraft — but it's on top of sand instead of an ocean. You'll see a whole variety of sweet tricks in this video, most notably the plane's incredible ability to hover just feet off the ground.
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