F-35C jets operated aboard the USS Carl Vinson as the aircraft carrier trained off the coast of Southern California.
An F-35C Lightning II, the US Navy variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, landed on and launched from Carl Vinson during day and nighttime operations, completing another step toward becoming an operationally capable aircraft.
“The training helped us to confidently land and launch an aircraft we’ve never dealt with before,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Alexsis Labrake. “Being the first to ever do it on the Vinson was a pretty cool experience.”
The aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, based in Lemoore, California, flew aboard as Carl Vinson conducted carrier qualifications.
“We’re supporting efforts to flight test the current helmet mounted display system,” said Lt. Cmdr. Josh Reynolds, VFA-125’s operations officer.
Carl Vinson will likely be the first West Coast-based carrier to deploy with an F-35C squadron after undergoing a scheduled maintenance period in 2019 according to a press release.
“It really is a first,” said Reynolds. “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 defenses on day one.”
Commissioned in 1982, Carl Vinson is America’s third Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship’s primary mission is to conduct sustained combat air operations with an air wing complement of more than 60 aircraft.
Vinson operates with a strike group that serves as the Navy’s premier forward-deployed force, providing a deterrent against aggression and protecting US interests around the world, say the US Navy.