The US Navy’s F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter has conducted flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).
A navy F-35C Lightning II aircraft both landed on, and launched from, USS Carl Vinson during the operations, which were conducted in both day and night conditions.
The F-35C Lightning II used in the initiative was from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, based in Lemoore, California.
It is the navy’s first stealth fighter to conduct flight operations, and the activity represents the completion of another step towards the F-35C Lightning II becoming an operationally capable aircraft.
US Navy Aviation Boatswain Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Alexsis Labrake said: “The training helped us to confidently land and launch an aircraft we’ve never dealt with before.
“Being the first to ever do it on the Vinson was a pretty cool experience.”
The aircraft flew aboard as Carl Vinson’s crew conducted carrier qualifications, the navy noted.
VFA-125 operations officer lieutenant commander Josh Reynolds said: “We’re supporting efforts to flight test the current helmet-mounted display system.”
USS Carl Vinson is likely to become the first West Coast-based carrier to deploy with an F-35C squadron following its scheduled maintenance period in 2019.
Reynolds added: “For the first time, we will have the ability to launch a stealthy, deep-strike outfit from a carrier that can take part in penetration of enemy air defences on day one.”
USS Carl Vinson can be deployed to perform sustained combat air operations with an air wing complement of more than 60 aircraft.
The capabilities of the F-35C are expected to improve the carrier strike group’s battle-space awareness, lethality and survivability.