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Lagging US Navy F-35C Inches Toward Being a Reliable, Operational Aircraft

© Flickr / Gonzalo AlonsoF-35
F-35 - Sputnik International
The US Navy’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, recently conducted more than 100 flights from a US Navy aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean, bringing the lagging aircraft one step closer to operational status.

Some of the issues appear to be showing signs of improvement. The F-35C completed 140 arrested landings on the USS Abraham Lincoln between March 17 and March 21, Stars and Stripes reported.

Calling the aircraft "the Navy's future for strike warfare," Rear Adm. Dale Horan praised the F-35C, stating this week, "It's shaping up to be a fantastic program. As with any program, there are always complexities in getting it fielded, but we are working through those."

A lifelong US Navy F/A-18 fighter pilot said in a recent news release, "I wanted to switch to flying the Navy's newest aircraft, and now that I have, I wouldn't mind sticking with it for the rest of my career."

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While the US Air Force's F-35A and US Marine Corps short-takeoff vertical landing F-35B model have reached operational status in recent years, service officials cannot say the same about the US Navy's F-35C. The C-model had major design flaws that posed fatal risks and caused severe pain and disorientation for pilots taking off from aircraft carriers.

The issue became so problematic that "even our carriers may need to be modified to fix the problem," the National Review has reported.

The total cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is estimated to be upwards of $1.5 trillion.

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