Shocking videos have emerged on social media that show a U.S. Navy F-35C Joint Strike Fighter being launched off on an American supercarrier at what appears to be the minimum catapult power required for making it into the air successfully.
Shared by Instagram user RCAF_Pilot, the two clips depict the fighter launching under what is believed to be limited catapult power from an aircraft carrier in order to decipher the bare minimum propulsion power needed for the aircraft to avoid plummeting into the ocean.
Two different camera angles help convey the intensity of the launch. From one vantage point on the flight deck, the plane can be seen dropping completely out of view before reemerging and beginning its ascent.
In the other video recorded from beneath the ship’s bow, the jet can be seen falling into the frame just above the water before the its exhausts send ripples through the waves.
“That sink is scary, but it was a part of the test plan,” the Instagram user noted.
“The folks at PAX River needed to find the lowest amount of energy that the catapult needed in order to safely launch an F-35C … they definitely found it!”
There was no mention in the videos as to which carrier the clips were taken from, but the use of a steam-powered launch system rules out the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System equipped carrier Gerald R. Ford.