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NAVSEA Supports First Joint Strike Fighter Sea Trials, Collects Data

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS111027-20

From Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) led an external environment team during the first developmental test of F-35B Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1), Oct. 3-21, to collect data on how the aircraft's vertical landing impacts the ship's structures, systems and crew.

During the three-week ship integration testing, two F-35B Marine Corps test jets conducted short take-offs and vertical landings under various conditions while the external environment team conducted a modeling and testing program specifically developed to quantify the effects from the JSF's engine exhaust.

"The major area of interest for us was the effects from the vertical landing. This is the first opportunity we've had to collect actual environmental effects data of F-35B's vertical landings and short take-offs to the ship and crew," said Ansis Kalnajs, NAVSEA's topside design and integration technical warrant holder. "As the aircraft comes in, it transitions across the side of the ship to the landing spot, so you have a pretty hefty thermal load not only on the deck, but also across the deck edge equipment. The data we collected will help us evaluate the impact to structures, systems, and crew."

Leading up to the developmental test, the team designed and installed a complex suite of distributed sensors on LHD 1 to collect data on acoustics, deck edge equipment, weapon system pressure, temperature, air-wake properties, flight deck structure temperature, strain, and deflection.

"Working closely with the flight test engineers, ship's crew and JSF Integrated Test Force, our team collected critical data from the first landing through to a successful finish in each area of ship integration interest," said Joseph Spitz, NAVSEA's topside integration deputy.

Analysis of the information obtained will be reviewed and compared to existing engineering models to determine if configuration or concept of operations alterations will be required for the safe, cost-effective integration of F-35B into a next-generation fleet capability.

"From our perspective, we're very pleased with the amount, quality, and repeatability of data we collected," Kalnajs said. "It's too early to draw any conclusions from these tests because we're still evaluating the data. But going forward we're looking to identify what we may need to do to support the ship's fiscal year 2012 continuous maintenance availability."

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