The U.S. Navy and the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., officially reconstituted the highly decorated VFA-101 Grim Reapers Squadron during ceremonies held on the Emerald Coast Oct. 2.
VFA-101 will fly the Navyís newest aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, to perform the mission of training pilots and sailors to fly and service the aircraft fleet. The speakers challenged the Grim Reapers to prepare sailors to fly and maintain the F-35C safely at sea, where its stealth, sensors and communication systems will make the entire carrier strike group more effective. The U.S. Navyís F-35C Initial Operating Capability is scheduled for 2019.
The F-35C brings a broad range of force packages to the Navy fleet ñ capitalizing on the integration of advanced mission systems, stealth technology and supersonic capabilities,î said Lorraine Martin, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Program ìThe F-35C will enhance the flexibility, power projection, and rapid response of carrier air wings and joint task forces for decades to come.