BOOM: U.S. Navy Modifies Its Aircraft Carriers for F-35C Stealth Attack


Well-Known Member

(Washington, D.C.) The Navy is preparing its first two new Ford-class aircraft carriers to launch air attacks with the first-of-its kind carrier-launched F-35C stealth fighter, a move expected to further transform maritime air attack and bring new mission options to Commanders.
The F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, which reached its initial operational capability earlier this year, not only brings stealth to the Carrier Air Wing but also a drone-like surveillance ability, improved air-to-air combat possibility, long-range targeting sensors and a new generation of computer networking technology, technical developments which are already beginning to shape new Navy mission strategy.
The F-35C is now being prepared for operational deployment on board existing Nimitz-class carriers as well as the first two next-generation Ford Class ships - the USS Ford (CVN 78) and recently commissioned USS Kennedy (CVN 79). The two new Ford class carriers, Navy developers explain, are now being specially modified to integrate with the emerging F-35C stealth fighter.
“The necessary modifications to CVN 78 and 79 to fully employ the capabilities of the F-35s and enable them to be more effective will occur prior to the first planned F-35C operations aboard those carriers,” Capt. Danny Hernandez, Public Affairs Officer, Asst. Secretary of the Navy, Research, Development & Acquisition, told Warrior in a statement.
The carrier modifications, Hernandez explained, are being directly built into the third and fourth Ford class carriers, CVN 80 and CVN 81; the adjustments optimize carrier take off and landing for the F-35C and seek to ensure the new stealth fighter is sufficiently networked to the ship and remaining Carrier Air Wing in support of combat command and control. As part of the broader effort to prepare the fleet for the F-35C, the Navy has also been making modifications to its Nimitz-class carriers, platforms which will also deploy with the F-35C.
New language in the emerging 2020 defense bill asks that F-35C modifications be done to the USS Kennedy prior to its completion of a key pre-deployment exercise known as Post Shakedown Availability.
“To modernize CVN-79 for sustained F-35C operations prior to completion of the ship’s post shakedown availability will require additional funding. All Ford-class and most Nimitz-class carriers need to receive the necessary upgrades commensurate with operational need and installation schedules," Hernandez explained.