Welcome to your source of quality news, articles, analysis and latest data.

Navy is training the new Ford-class carriers to strike stealthy F-35C

The Navy is planning the first two modern Ford-class aircraft carriers to conduct air strikes with the first-of-a-kind carrier-launched stealth fighter F-35C, a step intended to further change naval air strikes and provide commanders with innovative task possibilities.

The F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, which achieved its full operating capability earlier this year, introduces not just secrecy to the Carrier Air Wing but also drone-like surveillance capabilities, improved air-to – air fighting capabilities, long-range tracking sensors and a modern age of computer networking systems, technological advances that are now starting to form the current Navy task strate.

“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 for the Navy Acquisition Executive, told Warrior in a statement.

The carrier improvements, Hernandez clarified, are being designed directly into the third and fourth Ford-class carriers, CVN 80 and CVN 81; the changes improve carrier take-off and landing for the F-35C and aim to insure that the latest stealth fighter is properly linked to the ship and the existing Carrier Air Wing in support of operational command and control. While many still-existing future threats and developments are likely to shape missions years from now, there are a variety of key anticipated areas where Ford carriers’ existence is already changing operational concepts, CONOPs.

For others, one specific priority involves the Carrier Air Wing extension. Designed with a wider flight deck than current Nimitz-class carriers, the Ford class offers a modern design capable of increasing the sortie rate by as much as 33 percent. The F-35C obviously further expands the scale of this mission. Not only can the F-35C allow a longer-range, more deadly air-to – air assault by utilizing its Electro-Optical Targeting System to fire arms such as the AIM-9X, but it can also make accurate air-to – ground combat and tracking operations easier. The F-35C is designed to offer a drone-like air combat observation capability.

Interestingly, a December essay by the Center for International Maritime Security specifically cites emerging tactical approaches that are likely to be implemented using the Carrier Air Wing as technology evolves and threats — such as networking with surveillance planes and drones. That closely aligns with the F-35’s mission scope.

The article, written by a professor at Naval War College, is entitled “The Future of Aircraft Carriers: Consider the Air Wing, Not The Base.” This notes that the Carrier Air Wing will “support surface forces in different ways to include destroying enemy Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) activities (a crucial initial goal of the old Soviet Su-27), defending our high-demand, low-availability…”

Furthermore, the carrier-launched missions are also expected to evolve further due to the arrival of a MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueler now in development. When the MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueler helps an F-35 to nearly twice its range, making for longer flights, more leisure time and a chance to meet a larger variety of objectives should new intelligence knowledge arise.

New objectives can appear rapidly , particularly in a fighting situation in which an F-35 will encounter several opponents in one battle. Further time at the base, combined with additional weapons, would actually mean further mission kills for an F-35 being targeted by several enemy aircraft; the attacker will use long-range sensors to track enemies and stay involved in an assault in battle for a prolonged period of time without needing to search for fresh ammo. Not only does this increase ranges of attacks, but longer ranges of fighter jet attacks enable a carrier to fly farther offshore and thereby become less prone to threats from enemies.

According to Rubel ‘s article, an improved availability of Carrier Air Wing, such as the one provided by the Ford Group, dramatically improves deployability and reaction time for mission assault. He cites the Gulf War as an example of how carrier presence increased possibilities for attacks to supplement or further strengthen land based fighter jet attacks.

“If Saddam had decided to keep going south, would six aircraft have had any effect against his large army and hundreds of aircraft? What if we had started to lose aircraft, as we indeed at that time thought we would?  The loss of one or two planes per wave would have quickly reduced the air wing to impotence,” Rubel writes, referring to the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

The Navy’s F-35C is engineered for harsh shipboard conditions with a wide wingspan, reinforced landing gear, rugged structures, and durable coatings. Its avionics provide the pilot with real-time, spherical exposure to knowledge regarding battlespace. Being designed for a aircraft, the 51-foot wingspan of the F-35C is wider than the fast take-off and landing versions of the Air Force F-35A and Marine Corps F-35B. It can launch two air-to – air missiles from AIM-120 and two 2,000-pound Direct Attack Munitions from Pair. According to Navy records, the F-35C can achieve speeds as high as Mach 1.6 and fly more than 1,200 nautical miles.

Several checks and trials have confirmed that pilots could correctly utilize night-combat-enabled Helmet Mounted Displays intended to offer more accuracy in “low-light” environments like those with little to no moonlight, officials of the Pentagon inform Warrior.
Through 2025, the aircraft carrier-based air wings of the Navy will consist of a combination of F-35C, F / A-18E / F Super Hornets, EA-18 G Growlers electronic assault aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye combat and control aircraft, MH-60R / S helicopters, and Carrier Onboard Supply logistics aircraft, such as the Navy Osprey tiltrotor type.

Simply put, the CIMSEC essay explains that both a psychological and a tactical advantage can come from carriers able to forward project power.

“They can be moved around the globe like queens on a chessboard, responding to disasters, minor aggressions, and showing the flag either in threat or in support,” Rubel writes.

Share Post
Written by
No comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.