New stealth jumpjet starting hover trials

f35b_rollout_4_20071219The Harrier jumpjet is one of the most famous aircraft in the world. Ideal for carrier take off and landings, the jumpjet has been part of the US military arsenal for many years. The problem is that it isn’t very fast. Now the next generation of jumpjet is entering testing to see if it measures up.

The new Harrier, known as the F-35B, combines stealth and supersonic speed. Currently there is only one other aircraft in the world that does this: the F-22 Raptor. The problem with the Raptor is it requires a standard runway to take-off and land, and is also extremely expensive ($361 Million per aircraft). The new Harrier, on the other hand, is both cheap (comparatively so, at $83 million each) and doesn’t require a full-length runway to operate. Assuming the F-35B passes testing, the U.S. is expected to invest in a large number of the new aircraft.