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    US Navy's First F-35 Squadron to Be Deployed Aboard Aircraft Carrier in 2021

    © CC BY 2.0 / Forsvarsdepartementet / Testflyging av første norske F-35
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    The US Navy will have its first squadron of F-35C Joint Strike Fighter jets operational on board of the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in 2021, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Air Warfare Director D. H. Miller III said in a congressional testimony on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Miller acknowledged that the F-35C jet still has to complete "system development and demonstration, initial operations test and evaluation and initial operational capability."

    "The fiscal year 2017 president’s budget supports a timeline that transitions squadrons for the first operational deployment on USS Carl Vinson in 2021," Miller told the House Armed Services Committee.

    Carl Vinson is the lead ship of the Navy's Carrier Strike Group 1 and conducts military operations and fleet training and certification.

    He noted that in tests aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington, the F-35C underwent 132 take offs and arrested landings without incident.

    Meanwhile, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said in a congressional hearing that the US will establish 14 new operating locations worldwide for the F-35 Lighting II combat jets within a three-year period.

    "We will also be adding 14 new operation locations around the world in the next three years making F-35 weapon system a truly global capability," Bogdan told the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

    Bogdan explained the United States is building a capability to globally maintain and repair F-35 jets in the Pacific, European and North American regions.

    The F-35 program has Navy, Air Force and Marine variants of the fifth generation aircraft. The program is the most expensive weapon system in the history of the Defense Department.


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