The UK has for the first time tested an experimental Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing (SRVL) technique at sea using a Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning.
BAE Systems test pilot Peter Wilson performed the manoeuvre while recovering to the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in mid-October, the UK Ministry of Defence confirms.
The manoeuvre allows aircraft to use both the vertical thrust from the jet engine and lift from the wings, thus maximising the payload an aircraft can return with. F-35B jets can now to land on board the carrier with heavier loads, meaning they won't need to jettison expensive fuel and weapons before landing.
Previously the jets have conducted only vertical landings, hovering by the side of the ship before moving sideways over the deck and gently lowering down. Heavy load on board however was not allowing pilot such landing.