Welcome aboard USS America, the most American sounding ship ever made (literally.) Launched in 2012, this 844 foot amphibious assault ship is first of its kind. Smaller than your typical carrier, the point of these ships is to insert Marine Expeditionary Units into combat zones quickly and efficiently.
They’re not like your typical carriers despite their looks, as Navy’s Hornets can’t utilize them. They’re used by helicopters such as Sea Hawks and Ospreys and as for planes, only V/STOL aircraft can use them. These are of course AV-8B Harrier IIs and now the new F-35B Lightning IIs.
This is what you’ll be seeing in this video.
Now although this seems like standard procedure, but it’s the manner in which they do it that’s amazing. Harrier drivers have been doing this for years as have been aviators who were testing Lightning IIs all these years. What makes this so special is their absolute perfection.
Notice the horizon in the background. According to the report the carrier was pitching about 6 feet. Still, the F-35 was set down exactly in the middle of that yellow line. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done.
Now, there’s a reason why they do that. It’s not that they’re that anal and they could just set the bird down anywhere and choose not to but they do it because it might come in handy in the future. After watching this F-35 (keep your eye on the front gear), check out THIS video to see when this type of training perfection actually comes in handy in a real life situation.
A Harrier pilot couldn’t extend his front gear, but managed to leave the plane with zero damage. Watch how he nails it though.