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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.

20 COMMENTS

  1. There is a lot of talk about the USN not actually wanting the C Variant at all.
    what the USN want is more F18 E/F/Growlers.
    The current cost of C variant when associated with limited sales potential- only USN and maybe India would be possible customers for this jet, makes the C look like the most likely version to get cut.
    especially when USN can purchase 3 nearly 4 F18s for every 2 F35C built, is the F35C twice as good and twice as capable?

    • The F18 is a great bomb trust but I’m not sure how survivable it will be in 15 years time especially against a pear adversary. That said I still think stealth is over blown if the Serb’s could track them 20 years ago China and Russia can definitely track them today.

    • The F35C is in absolutely no jeopardy of being cut. The variant the USN hate is the B variant because they view as a Marine and foreign boondoggle that made the C variant get delayed. The talk about the Growlers is because they want more spare parts. However the F-18 cannot generate enough electricity for future upgrades so the F-35C is quite safe. Also the USN has historically been MUCH less concerned with exports than the AF.

    • Quite the opposite.

      The USN have said they are very keen on the aircraft and do not want a strike fleet comprised entirely of Super Hornets.

      Your numbers are way off.
      At best it is 2:1 and that is with just 3 or 4 ‘C’s being produced every year.

      Remember, the Super Hornet has its own eventual replacement programme dubbed “F/A-XX” which we will know more about by 2020.
      They know that the short ranged Rhino cannot compete in a 5th Gen world with advanced A2/AD

  2. It was reported to the defence select committee last week that the UK procurement of 48 F35B to be delivered by 2026 was going to cost just over £9bn.

    Further F35 purchases would be additional to this sum and the MOD declined to give a figure as to cost of these additional purchases, which is reasonable given the timescale involved.

    Seems likely that the total cost of each F35 will be significantly more than the US$100m cost per aircraft and falling that the UKDJ likes to use in articles that supports the case for a UK purchase of F35. The true cost is likely to be US$200m per aircraft.

    Why didn’t the UKDJ report this significant news story?

    • Doesn’t that figure include the MILCON at RAF Marham?
      And of course projected expenditure on sustainment and spares?

      I don’t think the UK ever give “flyaway” prices.

      • I accept that infrastructure and one off costs are included in the £9bn figure, I allowed for that in my calculation.

        £9bn divided by 48 F35 equals around £187m per aircraft or US$244m.

        Hopefully further orders, by not including those one off costs, will cost less so around US $200m per aircraft.

        I am suggesting that the UKDJ isn’t being upfront about F35 costs. I fully support the acquisition of the F35 but let’s be honest about its financial costs.

        If we order 138 F35 the cost is going to be region of US $28bn or £21bn at today’s exchange rate.

    • I thought it was £100 million and dropping too. If that’s the case that it is considerably more the numbers need to be reduced to save other capabilities.

      • Stephen Lovegrove, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence ” As you know, what we do in terms of formal budgeting in the MOD is every year look 10 years ahead. So the 10 years that we have got now are obviously lasting up to 2026-27. That is the period over which we have estimated the costs with a degree of precision and about which we are very confident that the F-35 programme will come under. The total cost in that, as set out in the NAO report, was about £9.1 billion. That includes the 48 aircraft. It also includes all the support and spares. It includes the training and the very substantial and long-lived investment in infrastructure at Marham and elsewhere. And that is the total cost for the next 10 years.”

        http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/defence-committee/f35-procurement/oral/71431.html

        The true costs of the F35 seem to be higher than the flyaway figure often quoted.

        • Surely, the true cost of any aircraft is higher that the flyaway figure though. All aircraft require, support, spares, maintenance, training etc.

  3. I suspect there are very few people who actually know the ‘flyaway’, ‘in service’ or ‘whatever’costs of the F-35B here in the UK.

    Not sure it really matters IMHO because a) we are buying it to be the new ‘Harrier’ (and there is no alternative) b) it enables a lower cost carrier strike force and c) it adds stealth and advanced sensor capabilities. The F-35B with Typhoon post Tornado retirement will make a formidable strike force.

    And the bonus is we get to build 15% – 20% of every F-35 that will ever be built. Having said that I still think we were shafted royally over engine maintenance (Turkey) and major airframe overhauls (Italy)

    • The way things are going geopolitically i can’t see the Turk engine facility becoming a reality at least i seriously hope not. The Russians one way or another will be all over that

    • I was about to respond with a considered and detailed discussion on exchange rates, their effects and their history having worked in international logistics for many years. And then I got to the usual Remoaner abuse.
      So I and 17.4 Mn like me are ‘numpties’ for having the utter nerve to vote differently to yourself? Remoaners like yourself become abusive idiots because they cannot accept a democratic decision by the British electorate. Their self righteous superiority complex has us as ‘uneducated’, ‘racist’, ‘old’ or ‘confused’. (And those are the terms I can repeat here) because they are always right in their minds and echo chambers.

      And of course like all EU Luvvies they want another Referendum so we can give ‘the correct result’ (to paraphrase Jean-Claude Juncker’s words). Well Harold here’s the thing Pal – we just had the second referendum. We waited for 44 years for it. Now YOU can wait another 44 years for the third. And here’s the reality check pal: YOU lost that vote because YOU offered nothing but abuse, Project Fear and threats. You and the Government threw a £9 Mn leaflet at every one of us to bully us. But we gave you and the EU the single middle digit.

      Now either discuss differing points of view like a grown up or go take your abuse and shove it where the sun don’t shine. And preferably remove your head first.

      • It’s doesn’t matter how anyone voted, the majority voted to leave so we leave the EU and all its institutions. That is democracy.

        I voted remain, but accept the result. Calls for a second referendum will plunge the country into strife and conflict. At the time of the referendum in 2016 no mention was made of the need for second referendum to ratify any deal.

        Being a democract means accepting decisions you do not like.

        • Mike – Very well said Sir. We seem to be able to accept another political party winning power (I accepted 13 years of Labour) but it accepting the Brexit result seems an ask too far of some (not all) Remainers.

          • Chris….my god what a piece you just wrote. I’m a PROUD leaver myself and decided not to respond to Harolds Numpty comment though I was chewing my lip. Bloody well said sir!!!!

    • Most defense contracts that involve multi nation partners have a fixed exchange rate built in to allow for exchange rate fluctuations.
      I saw the cost for an A400m once and the fixed contract exchange rate was way higher than the pound was at on the markets.
      Manufacturers are not daft. They will ensure they have a contract that always pays over the exchange rate.

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