The US Navy has successfully completed Blue Water Certification for its USS Nimitz (CVN 68) supercarrier and aircraft carrier air wing Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, which was achieved durng a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
Blue Water Certification is one of the final qualifications an aircraft carrier and its associated carrier air wing must go through before being permitted for deployment.
USS Nimitz is now capable of conducting self-sustained flight operations at sea following the new certification.
Vessels and their air wing lacking the qualification are required to operate within a 100-mile radius of a land-based air field in case of an emergency.
The US Navy’s Nimitz aircraft carrier was graded on a wide range of events, from replacing arresting-gear wires, launching and recovering aircraft as quickly as possible, to rigging up a mobile visual landing aid system and the capability of the air wing to carry out in-air refuelling before attempting a recovery on the flight deck.
Air traffic controller 2nd Class Austin Witsken said: “It’s important to get this certification, so we can prove we can launch and recover aircraft as quickly as possible.
“We want to be able to hide from the enemy when conducting operations, which means we have to complete our launches and recoveries as fast as possible so the carrier can continue to avoid any threats.”
The Blue Water Certification is also a major step towards deployment in Nimitz’ condensed Inter-Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC) and required effort from sailors all over the vessel.
The US Navy vessel has been working with some of the squadrons of CVW 11 through sea trials, Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) since October.
COMPTUEX tests a carrier strike group's mission-readiness ability to perform as an integrated unit through simulated real-world scenarios.
The training exercise marked the first time USS Nimitz has operated with the full complement of CVW 11 in preparation for deployment.
Image: US Navy’s USS Nimitz (CVN 68) aircraft carrier. Photo: courtesy of Navy File Photo.