At first, the Navy’s new stealth fighter turned heads on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. As the days passed, its presence became routine.
That’s exactly what Navy leaders said they wanted to see.
An exercise now taking place aboard the Lincoln is offering a glimpse into the future of naval air power. For the first time, F-35C Lightnings are launching and landing with their older counterparts in a pace that mirrors how the ship would operate on deployment.
The Navy on Monday invited media onto the Lincoln to view how six F-35Cs flew missions as part of cyclic fight operations, where groups of aircraft take off and land in carefully planned sequences.
The F-35Cs flew alongside F/A-18 Super Hornets and other aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7. Rear Adm. Dale E. Horan, director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration, said the new stealth fighter is blending in with its older but tested counterparts.
“For the first two days or so, everybody was like, wow, F-35s, F-35s,” he said. “And now it’s like, hey, they’re airplanes. They move around on the flight deck like a Navy airplane moves around on the flight deck. We’re seeing that (it) seems to look relatively normal.”
Once in the air, the stealth jets worked on tactics with the Super Hornets. Also in the mix were E2-D Hawkeyes, which offer advanced surveillance, and the EA-18G Growler, a specialized version of the Super Hornet that conducts electronic warfare. READ MORE...
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