Tag Archives: F-35C Lightning II

Safe-for-Flight

The «Argonauts» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 completed their carrier qualifications December 12 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), the final required component for Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing (CJSFW) to issue the squadron its safe-for-flight operations certification. This marks a major milestone for the U.S. Navy toward declaring Initial Operating Capability (IOC) next year.

Sailors direct an F-35C Lightning II assigned to the «Argonauts» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ethan J. Soto/Released)
Sailors direct an F-35C Lightning II assigned to the «Argonauts» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ethan J. Soto/Released)

The Safe-For-Flight Operations Certification (SFFOC) is the final step for VFA-147’s transition from the F/A-18E Super Hornet to the F-35C Lightning II. This process ensures a squadron is manned with qualified personnel to implement maintenance and safety programs in support of fleet operations. All transitioning squadrons are required to complete this certification prior to independently conducting flight operations.

When introducing a new aircraft to the fleet, the appropriate Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) is assigned oversight responsibility for the transitioning unit. The VFA-125 «Rough Raiders» were re-activated in January 2017 to fulfill the appropriate FRS role for the Lightning II. Since completing their combat deployment last winter, VFA-147 has been working with the Rough Raiders to accomplish the safe-for-flight operations certification. The Argonauts will be able to operate independently from the Rough Raiders, having received their safe-for-flight operations certification.

«Since we returned from deployment last December, our team has been driving toward fully bringing this platform online for the U.S. Navy», said VFA-147 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Patrick Corrigan. «As the Argonauts close out 2018 and the final stages of our safe-for-flight certification, we continue to exhibit the relentless drive required to meet transition goals and milestones. With this certification, we are announcing that we have the right skills, training and people to take this mission and execute it, to its fullest potential».

The safe-for-flight operations certification encompasses areas such as equipment, personnel and programs. Not least among them is the requirement for the squadron to be in the physical custody of at least 30 percent of the assigned aircraft. Other requirements include the installation and operation of management information systems such as Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) and its accompanying support networks. There is also a requirement for operational F-35C Lightning II squadrons to maintain robust, on-track, maintenance programs, as well as complete various inspections ranging from weapons to safety. Aircrew complete a transition flight syllabus and maintain certain proficiencies in accordance with Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures and Standardization (NATOPS).

«The Argonauts’ safe-for-flight operations certification was earned through the herculean effort of squadron Sailors and is an acknowledgement that they have developed the skills to safely maintain and operate the F-35C Lightning II», said Joint Strike Fighter Wing Commander Capt. Max McCoy. «We eagerly look forward to declaring IOC and integrating the F-35C Lightning II into the carrier strike group. This aircraft is a key component to maintaining the U.S. Navy’s dominance anywhere in the world».

«VFA-147 continues to accomplish significant milestones, advancing this program closer to its ultimate goal of integrating the F-35C Lightning II into the fleet», said McCoy. «The exceptional performance of the squadron throughout the entire transition process is a testament to the hard-working Sailors who make the U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II program a reality. We will succeed because the professionals in this program will not let it fail. It is evident in all that they do. It is who we are as a team».

Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing, headquartered at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, ensures that each F-35C Lightning II squadron is fully combat-ready to conduct carrier-based, all-weather, attack, fighter and support missions for Commander, Naval Air Forces. With its stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35C Lightning II will be the first 5th generation aircraft operated from an aircraft carrier. Currently, the U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II program is scheduled to declare initial operating capability by the end of February 2019.

 

F-35C Lightning II launch From USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

 

F-35С Lightning II specifications

Length 51.5 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.7 feet/4.48 m
Wing span 43 feet/13.1 m
Wing area 668 feet2/62.1 m2
Horizontal tail span 26.3 feet/8.02 m
Weight empty 34,800 lbs/15,785 kg
Internal fuel capacity 19,750 lbs/8,960 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-400
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Propulsion Length 220 inch/5.59 m
Propulsion Inlet Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Propulsion Maximum Diameter 51 inch/1.30 m
Propulsion Bypass Ratio 0.57
Propulsion Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6/1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h
Combat radius (internal fuel) >600 NM/683.5 miles/1,100 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Max g-rating 7.5

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy 260
U.S. Marine Corps 80
In total 340

 

Operational Test-1

F-35C Lightning II aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 are conducting their Operational Test-1 (OT-1) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 and Carrier Strike Group 12 aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Squadron 125 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). Abraham Lincoln is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maxwell Anderson/Released)
An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Squadron 125 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). Abraham Lincoln is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maxwell Anderson/Released)

OT-1 evaluates the full spectrum of the F-35C’s suitability for operation within a carrier air wing and mission effectiveness to the maximum extent possible.

«The F-35C Lightning II brings stealth, enhanced electronic capabilities and a different sustainment model», said Rear Admiral Dale Horan, director, Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration Office. «Operating this new generation of aircraft out on the aircraft carrier brings a different set of tools, techniques and procedures, and we’re learning how to integrate them into the battle group».

The F-35C Lightning II has the ability to pass on the information it collects not only to other F-35s in the air, but to legacy aircraft, carrier air wings, strike groups and troops on ground, enhancing the warfighting potential of the fleet.

Evaluators have been assessing the suitability of the F-35C Lightning II aboard carriers by defining how well it performs with other aircraft and incorporates into an air plan, monitoring maintenance and identifying its logistics footprint.

«We hope to see how it integrates onboard the ship», said Horan. «Can we maintain it? Can we get the parts? Can we get it airborne? Can we repair it if it has a problem? Those are the kinds of things we are looking for».

In addition to assessing the suitability of the F-35C Lightning II on a Nimitz-class class aircraft carrier, OT-1 evaluators observed the effectiveness of the F-35C Lightning II in real-world scenarios.

«The effectiveness piece is what we’re doing when we’re airborne and executing missions», said Captain Matt Norris, from the Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team. «We’ve been integrating with the strike group and accomplishing many missions like defensive counter air and anti-submarine warfare, for instance».

Previously, F-35C Lightning II and F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots have only conducted carrier qualifications together, so OT-1 marks the first time the F-35Cs have joined a carrier air wing to perform in a cyclic operations environment.

During cyclic operations, aircraft simulate missions, practice aerial maneuvers and take off and land continuously with brief pauses to allow for maintenance, fuel and ordnance changes.

Aboard Abraham Lincoln, the F-35C Lightning II has been flying cyclic operations with F/A-18 Super Hornets, E-2D Hawkeyes and EA-18G Growlers, conducting missions it would execute in combat if required. The addition of the F-35C Lightning II brings advanced capabilities that transform the way an air wing conducts operations.

Operational Test-1 helps give the U.S. Navy an assessment of how the aircraft would perform on deployment. As adversaries advance and legacy aircraft age, the F-35C Lightning II is critical to maintaining air dominance.

«This is the first time we really see how the aircraft works on the aircraft carrier; how we do maintenance and sustain it while we’re at sea; how it integrates with the ship; how it interoperates with communications, datalinks, the other aircraft; and how we conduct missions and tie in to other aircraft when we conduct missions», said Horan.

And while pilots adapted to the new aircraft, the crew of Abraham Lincoln also adjusted to the F-35s. From Aviation Boatswain’s Mates to Air-traffic Controllers, each Sailor learned to manage the aircraft with its unique attributes and capabilities.

«The level of planning that is required to execute an evolution like we did for OT-1 is huge, so everyone aboard Abraham Lincoln should be proud of the level of effort that they put in and how well they executed», said Norris. «We can’t fly this aircraft without everything the ship does for us, and the Lincoln has been an impressive ship».

With the successful completion of OT-1, the fifth-generation aircraft is one step closer to becoming deployable in the U.S. Navy fleet.

«The aircraft looks like a naval aircraft on the flight deck. From that perspective, the big picture looks pretty good», said Horan.

Data and lessons learned during OT-1 will lay the groundwork for future F-35C Lightning II deployments aboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers following the Navy’s F-35C Lightning II Initial Operating Capability (IOC) declaration.

 

F-35С Lightning II specifications

Length 51.5 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.7 feet/4.48 m
Wing span 43 feet/13.1 m
Wing area 668 feet2/62.1 m2
Horizontal tail span 26.3 feet/8.02 m
Weight empty 34,800 lbs/15,785 kg
Internal fuel capacity 19,750 lbs/8,960 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-400
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Propulsion Length 220 inch/5.59 m
Propulsion Inlet Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Propulsion Maximum Diameter 51 inch/1.30 m
Propulsion Bypass Ratio 0.57
Propulsion Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6/1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h
Combat radius (internal fuel) >600 NM/683.5 miles/1,100 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Max g-rating 7.5

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy 260
U.S. Marine Corps 80
In total 340

 

VFA-147 ‘Argonauts’

The U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-147 ‘Argonauts’ completed its first F-35C Lightning II flight at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California April 18. The inaugural flight supports the squadron’s transition from the F/A-18E Super Hornet to the F-35C Lightning II, marking a significant step toward the integration of the F-35C Lightning II weapons system into the U.S. Navy’s arsenal.

Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 147 ‘Argonauts’ Execute First F-35C Flight
Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 147 ‘Argonauts’ Execute First F-35C Flight

«In the back of my mind, I knew this day would happen eventually, but I still can’t believe that we are here, we are doing it and I have the privilege of being a part of this amazing program», said Lieutenant Dave «Strokes» Hinkle, the first U.S. Navy operational squadron pilot to fly the F-35C Lightning II.

«When you realize what this day means, not just in the context of our squadron’s history, but also what it means to the U.S. Navy, it is both simultaneously humbling and empowering to catch a glimpse of what’s in store for our community».

The squadron began the initial transition in December after completing a six-month deployment aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) as part of Carrier Air Wing 11. Since their return, both pilots and maintainers have undergone extensive training, completing F-35 ground school at Eglin Air Force Base and NAS Lemoore.

The transition, which is set to be complete in late 2018, makes the Argonauts the first operational squadron in the USN to receive and field the aircraft.

 

F-35С Lightning II specifications

Length 51.5 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.7 feet/4.48 m
Wing span 43 feet/13.1 m
Wing area 668 feet2/62.1 m2
Horizontal tail span 26.3 feet/8.02 m
Weight empty 34,800 lbs/15,785 kg
Internal fuel capacity 19,750 lbs/8,960 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-400
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Propulsion Length 220 inch/5.59 m
Propulsion Inlet Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Propulsion Maximum Diameter 51 inch/1.30 m
Propulsion Bypass Ratio 0.57
Propulsion Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6/1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h
Combat radius (internal fuel) >600 NM/683.5 miles/1,100 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Max g-rating 7.5

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy 260
U.S. Marine Corps 80
In total 340

 

Carrier Qualifications

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) completed fleet carrier qualifications (CQ) for the F-35C Lightning II program, marking another milestone for the new aircraft, while underway March 17-21.

An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 125 performs a touch and go on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mark Logico/Released)
An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 125 performs a touch and go on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mark Logico/Released)

Pilots assigned to the «Rough Raiders» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and the «Grim Reapers» of VFA 101 accomplished day and night qualifications with 140 traps in anticipation of F-35C operational testing later this year.

Aboard for part of the CQ was Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of the U.S. Navy F-35C Fleet Integration Office, who was previously embarked aboard Abraham Lincoln during a nine-and-a-half-month deployment in 2002.

«I have tight ties to Lincoln», said Horan. «It’s personally interesting for me, but also professionally, it’s really neat to see this aircraft out there with other aircraft; we haven’t done that before. Previously, all the CQ evolutions have just been F-35s».

The F-35C complements the tactical fighter fleet with a dominant, multirole, next-generation aircraft capable of projecting U.S. power and deterring potential adversaries. The continued integration of the F-35C into the carrier air wing will enable the carrier strike group of the future to be more lethal and survivable in high-end threat environments.

One of the major milestones for this carrier qualification evolution was the operational use of the F-35C’s foldable-wing feature. This feature is a critical component of the integration of F-35Cs with F/A-18C Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, facilitating the movement of the different platforms on the flight deck and rehearsing for operating as part of a full air wing aboard the carrier.

«My original platform is the Hornet, which I’ve flown for the past three years», said Lieutenant Nick Rezendes, a pilot attached to VFA 101, who qualified on the F-35C during this CQ. «I wanted to switch to flying the Navy’s newest aircraft, and now that I have, I wouldn’t mind sticking with it for the rest of my career».

Another important piece of this underway period was the continued integration of the F-35’s Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) with Abraham Lincoln. ALIS is a secure, off-board fleet management tool that integrates F-35 mission planning, maintenance, supply chain and sustainment information. Operators were able to plan, maintain, and sustain F-35C systems by transmitting up-to-date data to users and maintainers worldwide.

During Abraham Lincoln’s previous F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) carrier qualifications in December of 2017, an operational squadron accomplished the use of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) for the first time. The GPS-based, all-weather landing system works to provide accurate and reliable information for carrier landing approach, allowing F-35Cs to land during inclement weather.

«It’s pretty clear that this aircraft is the Navy’s future for strike warfare», said Horan. «It’s shaping up to be a fantastic aircraft. As with any program, there are always complexities in getting it fielded, but we are working through those. This aircraft is very capable and it’ll be really neat to watch it develop».

By 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier air wings are scheduled to consist of F-35Cs, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and carrier on board delivery logistics aircraft.

 

F-35С Lightning II specifications

Length 51.5 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.7 feet/4.48 m
Wing span 43 feet/13.1 m
Wing area 668 feet2/62.1 m2
Horizontal tail span 26.3 feet/8.02 m
Weight empty 34,800 lbs/15,785 kg
Internal fuel capacity 19,750 lbs/8,960 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-400
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Propulsion Length 220 inch/5.59 m
Propulsion Inlet Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Propulsion Maximum Diameter 51 inch/1.30 m
Propulsion Bypass Ratio 0.57
Propulsion Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6/1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h
Combat radius (internal fuel) >600 NM/683.5 miles/1,100 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Max g-rating 7.5

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy 260
U.S. Marine Corps 80
In total 340

 

First landing

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (Ike) accomplished its first arrested landing of an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, October 2. The arrested landing is part of the second phase of at-sea Developmental Testing (DT-II) for the F-35C, which is expected to last two weeks. These test phases ensure aircraft meet specifications and identify mission critical issues sufficiently early in the test phase to deliver fully capable aircraft in time for their scheduled Initial Operating Capability (IOC).

An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter from the Pax River Integrated Test Force conducts its first arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (Lockheed Martin photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)
An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter from the Pax River Integrated Test Force conducts its first arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (Lockheed Martin photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)

The purpose of DT-II is to test the suitability and integration of the F-35C in an at-sea environment. The F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) will run through a series of tests designed to increase the aircraft’s operability at sea. The Ike crew partnered with the Patuxent River ITF test team to ensure the ship was prepared to receive the aircraft.

«We brought a team from the Eisenhower to Patuxent River about two months ago», said Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 Navy test pilot Lieutenant Commander Daniel Kitts. «We have a steam catapult built into our runway. We took some steps with the crew here to bring them up to speed by training them on the F-35 to get them a little bit more familiar with our aircraft».

The F-35C will perform a variety of operational maneuvers during DT-II while simulating maintenance operations and conducting general maintenance and fit tests for the aircraft and support equipment.

Following the analysis of DT-II test data, the team will conduct a thorough assessment of the F-35C’s performance in the shipboard environment before advising the Navy on any adjustments necessary to ensure the fifth-generation fighter is ready to meet its scheduled IOC in 2018.

«The goal of this test phase is to find out how we can expand the envelope in which this aircraft works in an effective and safe fashion», Kitts said. «We have a huge team working on this, and I know that each time I get in this aircraft it’s the culmination of a lot of people’s hard work».

The F-35C – the U.S. Navy’s and Marine Corps’ Carrier-suitable Variant (CV) – combines unprecedented at-sea stealth with fighter speed and agility, fused targeting, cutting-edge avionics, advanced jamming, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. With a broad wingspan, reinforced landing gear, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the F-35C will stand up to harsh shipboard conditions. The avionics also equip the pilot with real-time, spherical access to battlespace information and commanders at sea-in the air and on the ground-with an instantaneous, high-fidelity single picture view of ongoing operations.

«The Ike crew is very interested», Kitts said. «The Sailors are really curious about the F-35C and a lot of them have really great questions and we encourage them to ask. These Sailors are who we’re working for to get this aircraft ready to be in the fleet so they can use it».

By 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft. The continued success of F-35 Lightning II shipboard operations aid the development of the Navy’s next generation fighter and reinforce Navy-industry partnership goals to deliver the operational aircraft to the fleet in 2018.

An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant joint strike fighter assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 makes an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anderson W. Branch/Released)
An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant joint strike fighter assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 makes an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anderson W. Branch/Released)

 

F-35С Lightning II specifications

Length 51.5 feet/15.7 m
Height 14.7 feet/4.48 m
Wing span 43 feet/13.1 m
Wing area 668 feet2/62.1 m2
Horizontal tail span 26.3 feet/8.02 m
Weight empty 34,800 lbs/15,785 kg
Internal fuel capacity 19,750 lbs/8,960 kg
Weapons payload 18,000 lbs/8,160 kg
Maximum weight 70,000 lbs class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings) F135-PW-400
Maximum Power (with afterburner) 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner) 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/13,063 kgf
Propulsion Length 220 inch/5.59 m
Propulsion Inlet Diameter 46 inch/1.17 m
Propulsion Maximum Diameter 51 inch/1.30 m
Propulsion Bypass Ratio 0.57
Propulsion Overall Pressure Ratio 28
Speed (full internal weapons load) Mach 1.6/1,043 knots/1,200 mph/1,931 km/h
Combat radius (internal fuel) >600 NM/683.5 miles/1,100 km
Range (internal fuel) >1,200 NM/1,367 miles/2,200 km
Max g-rating 7.5
Two F-35Cs from the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 are conducting follow-on developmental test (DT-II) sea trials aboard the Eisenhower (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Lockheed Martin photo by Andrew McMurtrie/Released)
Two F-35Cs from the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 are conducting follow-on developmental test (DT-II) sea trials aboard the Eisenhower (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Lockheed Martin photo by Andrew McMurtrie/Released)

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy 260
U.S. Marine Corps 80
In total 340

 

The landing kicks off the Pax River Integrated Test Force’s two-week follow-on sea trial testing aboard the Eisenhower

The first harbinger

The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) has received its first Carrier Variant (CV) F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the Lockheed Martin announced on 22 December 2014.

F-35C Lightning II (aircraft CF-02)
F-35C Lightning II (aircraft CF-02)

Aircraft CF-19 will now be transferred from the Fort Worth production facility in Texas to the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where it will be assigned to the U.S. Navy’s (USN’s) VFA-101 ‘Grim Reapers’ for pilot training.

The USMC is acquiring a mixed fleet of Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B and CV F-35C aircraft. The current plan is for the Corps’ current McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIs to be replaced by 353 F-35Bs, and its Boeing F/A-18 Hornets to be replaced by 67 F-35Cs. Initial operating capability for the F-35B is slated to be achieving in the coming months, while that for the F-35C is expected in 2018.

According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, CF-19 was the 36th and final F-35 to be delivered this year. Aircraft delivered in 2014 comprised 23 Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35As to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), two F-35As to the Royal Australian Air Force, four F-35Bs to the USMC, six F-35Cs to the USN, and one F-35C to the USMC.

The Department of the Navy decided to base F-35C Lightning II aircraft at NAS (Naval Air Station) Lemoore, California. NAS Lemoore is the newest and largest Master Jet Base in the U.S. Navy. It has two offset parallel runways 4,600 feet (1,400 m) apart.

The F-35C completes catapults and arrestments aboard USS Nimitz on November 12, 2014.
The F-35C completes catapults and arrestments aboard USS Nimitz on November 12, 2014

With the programme still in low-rate initial production (LRIP), the final two lots (LRIP 10 and LRIP 11) are due to be contracted in the next couple of years. After 2016, Lockheed Martin intends to ramp-up to full-rate production of about one aircraft per day.

More than 50 years of carrier based fighter evolution culminates in the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II aircraft. Never before has very low observable stealth been available at sea. With a broad wingspan, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the F-35C Lightning II CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery) aircraft is designed to stand up to harsh shipboard conditions while delivering a lethal combination of 5th Generation fighter capabilities.

The Carrier Variant Lockheed Martin aircraft sets a new standard in weapon systems integration, maintainability, combat radius and payload that brings true multimission capability to naval forces around the world.

It is truly a first-day-of-the-war fighter with the ability to dominate adversaries in the air or on the surface, while surviving the most formidable threat environments.

CF-01 flew with inert AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on port and starboard pylons to measure flying qualities and aircraft vibrations
CF-01 flew with inert AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on port and starboard pylons to measure flying qualities and aircraft vibrations

F-35C SPECIFICATIONS

Length:                                                             51.5 ft/15.7 m

Height:                                                             14.7 ft/4.48 m

Wingspan:                                                      43 ft/13.1 m

Wing area:                                                      668 ft2/62.1 m2

Horizontal tail span:                                 26.3 ft/8.02 m

Weight empty:                                             34,800 lb/15,785 kg

Internal fuel capacity:                             19,750 lb/8,960 kg

Weapons payload:                                    18,000 lb/8,160 kg

Maximum weight:                                      70,000 lb class/31,751 kg

Standard internal weapons load:     Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles

Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs

Developmental Testing I is the first of three at-sea test phases for the F-35C carrier variant
Developmental Testing I is the first of three at-sea test phases for the F-35C carrier variant

Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings):          F135-PW-400

Maximum Power (with afterburner):               43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/ 19,507 kgf

Military Power (without afterburner):           28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/ 13,063 kgf

Length:                                                                               220 in/5.59 m

Inlet Diameter:                                                              46 in/1.17 m

Maximum Diameter:                                                 51 in/1.30 m

Bypass Ratio:                                                                 0.57

Overall Pressure Ratio:                                           28

F135-PW-400 engine for F-35C Carrier Variant (CV)
F135-PW-400 engine for F-35C Carrier Variant (CV)

Speed (full internal weapons load):                  Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/ 1931 km/h)

Combat radius (internal fuel):                             >600 NM/1,100 km

Range (internal fuel):                                                >1,200 NM/2,200 km

Max g-rating:                                                                7.5

 

Planned Quantities

U.S. Navy:                                                                       260;

U.S. Marine Corps:                                                       80;

In total:                                                                             340