An Update on the USS WASP-F35B Ship Integration Tests


2015-05-27 According to a communication to the journalists who traveled to the USS WASP on May 26, 2012. Major Greenberg, a PAO officer with the USMC provided a helpful update on the operational testing and their progress.

“The first phase of shipboard Marine Corps F-35B operational test (OT-1) is in progress aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1), a U.S. Navy amphibious ship, from May 18 to May 29, 2015.

Six F-35B aircraft from VMFA-121 and VMFAT-501 are participating in OT-1.

OT-1 will evaluate the full spectrum of F-35B measures of suitability and effectiveness to the maximum extent possible.

Specifically, the ship trial will assess the integration of the F-35B while operating across a wide array of flight and deck operations, maintenance operations and logistical supply chain support in an at-sea environment.

OT-I objectives also include:

  • Test and assessment of day and night flight operations;
  • Day and night extended range operations;
  • Block 2B software configuration;
  • Aircraft-to-ship network communications interoperability;
  • Efficacy of the F-35B landing signals officer’s launch and recovery software;
  • The crew’s ability to conduct scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities;
  • The suitability of F-35B maintenance support equipment for shipboard operations;
  • The logistics footprint of a six-plane F-35B detachment;
  • Day and night weapons loading;
  • And all aspects of the logistics and sustainment support of the F-35B while deployed at sea.

Data and lessons learned will lay the groundwork for F-35B deployments aboard U.S. Navy amphibious carriers following the Marine Corps’ F-35B initial operating capability (IOC) declaration in July 2015.

There is not a precise date in July scheduled for IOC declaration.

The Power Module for the F-35 engine was carried onbaord the USS Wasp by an Osprey. Credit Photo: USMC
The Power Module for the F-35 engine was carried onbaord the USS Wasp by an Osprey. Credit Photo: USMC

The U.S. Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, has directed that a team of experts carry out a final operational readiness inspection in July before declaring the first squadron (VMFA-121) of F-35B fighter jets ready for initial combat use at IOC.

The Marine Corps-led team will report the findings of the operational readiness inspection, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps will make a decision based on those findings.

Statistics: The F-35B has flown more than 11,800 mishap-free hours as of May 26, 2015.

OT-1 F-35B sorties as of the end of the day on May 26, 2015: 98 OT-1 F-35B flight hours as of the end of the day on May 26, 2015: 73.1 Daily sorties May 26: 17 Daily hours May 26: 11.1

Power Module: The power module arrived aboard the USS WASP via Osprey on May 21, 2015. The power module was loaded into an MV-22B Osprey at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland and flown to USS Wasp on May 21.

The power module is the core of the F-35B’s engine.

A joint effort has been coordinated between the Marine Corps, the F-35 Joint Program Office, Pratt & Whitney and Naval Air Systems Command Special Operations and Cargo Team to make this happen.

The goal was to design, build and test a shipping “buck” to hold and protect the 4,500 pound power module while being transported in a MV-22B.”