New fighter jets land on USS Nimitz off San Diego coast - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New fighter jets land on USS Nimitz off San Diego coast

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – It's a major milestone for the Navy - two new fighter jets have made their first landings on an aircraft carrier just off the San Diego coast. And crews aboard the USS Nimitz helped make it happen.

Tuesday is day two of the Navy's two week testing of a brand new fighter jet - the F-35C. The first test of the F-35C fighter jet was successful Monday when it landed on the USS Nimitz 40 miles of the coast of San Diego.

According to the Navy, the "arrested landing" is part of the initial at-sea development testing for the F-35C. Monday's landing was the first of three planned test phases.

The aircraft-carrier phase marks a key step for the overall F-35 program, which has suffered some setbacks in the past due to safety concerns, engine problems, computer-software troubles, among other issues.

The F-35s are designed for short takeoff and vertical landing. It's tailored to achieve rapid deceleration during landings onboard aircraft carriers at sea. It does that, in part, by using a tailhook, which is a device attached to the rear of the aircraft.

The military expects to purchase almost 2,500 of these fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.

The Navy is hoping to add the F-35C to its fleet by 2018. The cost of the entire program is estimated at nearly $400 billion.

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