Ship part

F-35B delivered by offshore supply ship to NAS Pensacola

An F-35B Lightning II arrived in the Florida Panhandle June 13 at its new home at Naval Air Station Pensacola, but certainly not in the way one might expect.

The offshore supply vessel Relentless Navy had a shrink-wrapped Stealth Short Takeoff Vertical Landing (STOVL) fighter on deck when it arrived at the base’s deep water port.

Identifiable only by its shape thanks to the protective white packaging, the radome-less F-35B is heading to the Air Department at the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) for crash and rescue training, according to a Facebook post. of NAS Pensacola.

The strange cargo being shipped around Florida sparked some interest – mixed with confusion – from passers-by earlier in the week. A Reddit post on r/aviation shows the Relentless Navy sailing about 15 miles off Islamorada in the Florida Keys en route to Pensacola.

In February, The war zone wrote about a similar delivery to nearby Eglin Air Force Base with a Navy Landing Air Cushion (LCAC) carrying a CH-46 Sea Knight from NAS Pensacola, which you can read more about here .

Which cell it is and where exactly it comes from is unclear. It’s possible it’s a non-flying test item, a very old test plane that’s now grounded, but it’s more likely to be a plane that’s been written off due to an accident. To our knowledge, the only F-35B that could possibly fit this bill is a damaged by in-flight fire on October 27, 2015, over MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina. This aircraft was written off, which would have made it an excellent candidate as a ground instructional tool.

Why he was transported by boat is another unanswered question, although it might make sense if he was from South Carolina. It would also be good to have more details on how it will be used. With all that in mind, we posed these questions to NAS Pensacola and hope to have an answer soon. We’ll let you know when we do.

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