The US Navy has embarked a squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35Cs on the USS Carl Vinson for the type’s first carrier deployment.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) departed San Diego on August 2 for a Pacific and Middle East deployment with an integrated carrier air wing (CAW) comprised of a squadron of F-35Cs from VFA-147, three squadrons of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, and augmented detachments of EA-18G Growlers, Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeyes, Bell/Boeing CMV-22B Ospreys, and Sikorsky MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawks. In total, the augmented CAW comprises 67 aircraft.
The deployment marks the first operational deployment of the carrier variant (CV) of the F-35 following an upgrade to the Vinson to be able to handle the aircraft and its advanced weapons, sensors, and sustainment systems.
Vinson’s CAW also marks the first carrier deployment of the new CMV-22B which is replacing the Grumman C-2A Greyhound in the US Navy’s carrier onboard delivery (COD) role, and which has, until now, only conducted shore-based missions.