A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B completed its first shipboard vertical landing on Tuesday, touching down on the deck of the USS Wasp in the Atlantic during preliminary phases of ship suitability testing.
The Joint Strike Fighter will continue shipboard testing during the next two weeks, striving to complete a planned 67 landings on the Wasp during that time frame.
The achievement for the F-35B, the short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the fighter, comes after a series of delays and expense increases for the Joint Strike Fighter, which has been under production for 10 years.
The F-35B variant in particular has experienced a variety of development and testing problems, prompting former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in January to put the program on a two-year probation.
The Pentagon, however, is hailing Tuesday’s landing as a success and highlighting the fact that the test was delivered on schedule after being scheduled in the Spring of this year.
View video of the landing below.