This is an F35B on shipboard trials, prototype of the aircraft that is now planned to fly from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers from sometime around 2018.
As a non-aviation specialist, first impressions are that this £100 million contraption looks incredibly complicated, masses of moving parts hydraulics, hinges, doors levers etc all which all must function properly for a safe landing. Surely a huge maintenance challenge and vulnerable to even minor battle damage? When the plane takes off and is ‘cleaned up’ it has a certain 21st century beauty but seems to lack the elegance of the much simpler Harrier. However it does represent an exciting step up in capability if it works as advertised. FLY NAVY!