The Commander, Naval Air Forces and the US Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation jointly announced F-35C carrier variant Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on February 28. It came after Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, completed carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and received Safe-For-Flight Operations Certification.
In order to declare IOC, the first operational squadron must be properly manned, trained and equipped to conduct assigned missions in support of fleet operations. This includes having 10 Block 3F, F-35C aircraft, requisite spare parts, support equipment, tools, technical publications, training programs and a functional Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS).
‘The F-35C is ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win,’ said Commander Naval Air Forces, VADM DeWolfe Miller.
Meanwhile, RADM Dale Horan, director, USN F-35C Fleet Integration Office said: ‘The F-35C will revolutionize capability and operating concepts of aircraft carrier-based naval aviation using advanced technologies to find, fix and assess threats and, if necessary, track, target and engage them in all contested environments. This accomplishment represents years of hard work on the part of the F-35 Joint Program Office and Naval Aviation Enterprise. Our focus has now shifted to applying lessons learned from this process to future squadron transitions, and preparing VFA-147 for their first overseas deployment.’