Fifth and 4th generation aircraft assigned to Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG), with embarked Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2), and U.K. Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 21 conducted joint interoperability flights in the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, Aug. 26.
During the joint interoperability flights, the aircraft conducted missions to validate joint integration techniques, tactics, and procedures; including mid-air refueling. This is the first time that VINCSG and CSG-21 have operated together.
“In a very short amount of time, we were able to seamlessly combine the collective 5th generation capabilities of joint strike fighter aircraft from two services and a partner nation together with the rest of the advanced capabilities of our entire air wing,” said Capt. Tommy Locke, commander, CVW-2. “Our strike group and air wing arrived in the Indo-Pacific ready to demonstrate the value of having agile 5th generation maritime power in the region – and make no doubt, we are ready to win.”
Participating aircraft from CVW-2 include: four F-35C Lightning IIs from Strike Fight Squadron (VFA) 147; five F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 2 and 192; two EA-18G Growlers, from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136; and one E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, from Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 113.
Participating CSG-21 aircraft include: two U.S. F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211; and two F-35Bs from United Kingdom’s No. 617 Squadron.
This was the first training opportunity CSG-21 had to engage with the F-35 “C” model, assigned to CVW-2. The two F-35B squadrons have been deployed together aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for her inaugural, global deployment, demonstrating the interoperability the F-35 provides.
“Integrating United Kingdom and U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs into a flight with U.S. Navy F-35Cs continues to reinforce the tactical flexibility and interoperability of the F-35,” said Col. Simon Doran, U.S. Senior National Representative to the UK CSG. “Additionally, the mission further demonstrates the F-35s ability to support distributed maritime operations.”
VINCSG provides a combat-ready force to protect and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its regional allies and partners. Collectively, the VINCSG consists of more than 7,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe.