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Navy Tests F-35C on a Catapult



An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a steam catapult for the first time. CF-3 is the designated carrier suitability test aircraft. The F-35C carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is distinct from the F-35A and F-35B variants with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for greater control in the demanding carrier take-off and landing environment. The F-35C is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River before eventual delivery to the fleet.  Photo courtesy of US Navy Visual Information Service.

[More about the F-35 program (and controversies from the media) here and here]