- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - The Navy’s newest warplane is getting a test run off the coast of Virginia.

Friday’s sea trials on board the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower were the second phase of testing for the F-35C Lightning II.

The Navy’s first stealth fighter, which officials hope to have ready for operations by 2018, cost about $116 million each.

The fleet completed the first round of testing on board the USS Nimitz in November 2014. Testing onboard the Eisenhower is expected to last about another week.

Three variants of the F-35 jets have been developed, one each for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The F-35C, the model designed for aircraft carriers, is assigned to a fighter squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet was the last new aircraft introduced to the fleet more than a decade ago.


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