Defense

August 14, 2013

Strike Fighter Squadron 101 granted “interim safe for flight”

An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. VFA 101, based at Eglin Air Force Base, serves as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C.

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the Navy’s first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant aircraft squadron, completed its first flight Aug. 14 in its new aircraft at the squadron’s home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The 1.3 hour flight was made by VFA-101 naval aviator Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert.

The flight followed a decision by Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific, Vice Adm. David Buss Aug. 8, granting the Fleet Replacement Squadron interim “safe for flight” status.

“The Lightning II strike fighter represents the future business end of our nuclear powered aircraft carrier force, the embarked carrier air wing,” said Buss. “The men and women of VFA-101 are now cleared to take the first steps toward that future as they operate these amazing Navy aircraft and train the aviators who will fly them.”

“VFA-101′s achievement of the Interim Safe For Flight criteria constitutes a significant milestone in the introduction of the F-35C Lightning II into the fleet,” said Capt. Mark Black, commander, Strike Fighter Wing, Pacific. “VFA-101 will now begin to schedule and perform sorties under their own charter from their facilities at Eglin AFB. This will permit the re-established Grim Reapers to begin training for the original flight instructor cadre that will teach future F-35C pilots in the intricacies of mastering the Navy’s first 5th generation fighter.”

Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, conducts a pre-flight inspection of an F-35C Lightning II aircraft before the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. VFA 101, based at Eglin Air Force Base, serves as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C.

The squadron received the Navy’s first F-35C from Lockheed Martin June 22. Today’s flight was the first in the new Navy aircraft flown by a VFA-101 pilot at Eglin. “The first flight of Grim Reaper 102 today is the acme of many years hard work and planning by the Sailors of VFA-101 and our Lockheed Martin partners and is an exciting first step in introducing the Navy’s first 5th generation fighter to fleet,” said VFA Commanding Officer Capt. John Enfield. “Now that we’re flying, we will be able to validate and evaluate both the pilot and maintainer syllabi as we train the initial cadre of instructors.”

VFA 101 is the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training Navy aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C, a fifth generation fighter that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

“The Interim Safe for Flight will begin in earnest the training of the U. S. Navy personnel in how to maintain this impressive new aircraft,” said Black. “Proficient Lockheed Martin technicians will lead Sailors in verifying prescribed maintenance procedures that will ultimately be converted into a robust syllabus that will permit future Navy maintenance personnel to develop the skills necessary to ensure and sustain the flight integrity of the aircraft. Designating VFA-101 as Interim Safe for Flight signifies that the Navy F-35C has begun its service in Naval Aviation for real.”

The F-35C will enhance the flexibility, power projection, and strike capabilities of carrier air wings and joint task forces and will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy’s premier strike fighter.

By 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of the F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler, E-2D Hawkeye, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike air vehicles, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 
 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 

 

Future of AF helicopter fleets discussed at conference

Air Force Global Strike Command’s Helicopter Operations Division hosted the Worldwide Helicopter Conference at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 7-9, to discuss the current and future state of the Air Force’s helicopter fleets. The conference promoted cross talk among the Air Force’s helicopter forces, which are principally operated by Air Combat Command, Pacific Air...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First F-35A operational weapons load crew qualified

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Airmen with the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew one, prepare to load a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition on to an F-35A Lightning II during a qualification load on Eglin Air...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>