The first US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35C Squadron has marked a milestone by deploying on the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

The deployment follows the completion of several workups by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) last year, reported 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing 1st lieutenant Charles Allen.

The 3rd MAW commanding general major general Bradford Gering said: “The Black Knight’s deployment of F-35C Lightning II aboard USS Abraham Lincoln is the newest chapter in the Marine Corps’ long history of naval integration.

“The upcoming deployment represents years of hard work and innovation by the Marines and Sailors of VMFA-314, MAG-11, and 3rd MAW. It also reinforces our commitment to fielding the most lethal and ready Navy-Marine Corps force as we project warfighting capabilities throughout the Indo-Pacific region, or globally wherever our nation calls.”

VMFA-314 departed San Diego Bay with Carrier Air Wing Nine aboard the aircraft carrier.

The squadron received its first F-35C on 21 January 2020 after retiring its F/A-18A/C aircraft.

In December, it concluded final integrated training cycle with Carrier Strike Group Three’s elements.

It also participated in several exercises to demonstrate the F-35’s strike capabilities.

VMFA-314 commanding officer lieutenant colonel Brendan Walsh said: “Our ability to operate the F-35C in the Pacific greatly increases the Marine Corps’ naval expeditionary force capabilities by providing us the capacity to employ the most advanced electronic warfare capabilities on any aircraft today in support of fleet operations.

“In addition, having this asset available greatly increases the Marine Corps’ ability to provide security to our allied nations and preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.”