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F-35B aircraft BF-1 and BF-4 fly together in Mode 4 formation
F-35B aircraft BF-3, piloted by USMC Maj Michael Kingen, fires an AIM-120

F-35B update August

Published: 28 Aug 2014

F-35B aircraft for the USMC have moved to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, the Marine Corps’ first and only F-35B training squadron responsible for training F-35B pilots from all services to include international students. The F-35B Lightning II JSF will replace the Marine Corps’ aging legacy tactical fleet. In addition to replacing the F/A-18A-D Hornet, the Marine Corps will replace the AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler.

Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols is interviewed in this You tube video made in May 2014 when the F-35B was still going to be coming to the UK for airshows. 

Video of Two F-35B aircraft flying in close formation while in short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) mode for the first time on Feb. 11, 2014

F-35B aircraft BF-1 and BF-4 completed “Mode 4” formation testing on Aug 9th, as required for Block 2B software capability. “In Mode 4 operations, the STOVL Propulsion System is engaged, the lift fan, roll post nozzle, and three-bearing-swivel nozzle are operating, and all propulsion system doors and inlets are open.  Flight testing validated the F-35B Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant’s ability to operate well in this configuration during formation flight which supports operations around the ship; a key milestone for the F-35B path to IOC,” McFarlan said. 

F-35B aircraft BF-3 completed the 2B software fleet release weapon separation requirements for the F-35B with two successful AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Air Vehicle Instrumented (AAVI) separation flights on consecutive days, Aug. 14 and 15.  The AIM-120 radar-guided missiles were launched over the Atlantic Test Range. “2B software fleet release is critical to the warfighter because it delivers the first combat capability to our most dominant 5th generation platform. Weapons employment is one the most critical combat capabilities.  This culminates years of dedicated work that proves safe separation in 2B configurations and provides this capability and confidence to our customers,” McFarlan said.


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