The US Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-147 has completed its first flight using an F-35C Lightning II aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore in California.
The maiden flight supports Strike Fighter Squadron’s transition from the F/A-18E Super Hornet to the F-35C and marks a significant step towards the weapon system’s integration into the US Navy arsenal.
VFA-147 previously commenced the initial transition in December last year following a six-month deployment on-board the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of Carrier Air Wing 11.
The transition is set to be completed by the end of the year and will make VFA-147 the first operational squadron in the US Navy to receive and field the F-35C aircraft.
VFA-147 commanding officer commander Patrick Corrigan said: “The day we returned from deployment, we knew we would have to hit the ground running.
“There is no such thing as a slow day for any member of our Argonaut team.
“I applaud all of our sailors and pilots for continuously pushing this programme to where it needs to be for us to succeed and meet our target date later this year.”
The squadron intends to conduct more intensive flying in the near future as they begin their integration into the carrier air wing, a process that will also include preparation for deployment on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in 2021.
The F-35C aircraft features advanced stealth, sensor fusion, unprecedented battlespace awareness and electronic attack capabilities, which are expected to provide warfighters with the capability to carry out assigned missions worldwide.
It is a transformational weapons system that provides the US Navy with significantly enhanced battlespace accessibility and lethality compared to previous models.