PHILIPPINE SEA – Fifth and 4th generation aircraft assigned to the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG), with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 on board and UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 21 conducted joint interoperability flights in the 7th US Navy fleet, Aug. 26.
During joint interoperability flights, the aircraft performed missions to validate joint integration techniques, tactics and procedures; including in-flight refueling. This is the first time that VINCSG and CSG-21 have operated together.
“In a very short period of time, we were able to seamlessly combine the collective capabilities of 5th generation Joint Strike Fighter jets from two services and one partner nation with the rest of the advanced capabilities of our entire Air Wing,” said Capt. Tommy Locke, commanding officer of CVW-2. “Our strike group and air wing have arrived in the Indo-Pacific ready to demonstrate the value of agile 5th generation sea power in the region – and there is no doubt that we are set to win.”
Participating CVW-2 aircraft 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 the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136; and an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, from Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 113.
Participating CSG-21 aircraft include: two US F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211; and two UK No. 617 Squadron F-35Bs.
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 were deployed together aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for its first worldwide deployment, demonstrating the interoperability of the F-35.
“The integration of the F-35Bs from the United Kingdom and the United States Marine Corps in a flight with the F-35Cs of the US Navy continues to enhance the tactical flexibility and interoperability of the F-35”, said Colonel Simon Doran, senior US national representative to the UK CSG. “In addition, the mission once again demonstrates the ability of the F-35 to support distributed maritime operations.”
The VINCSG provides a combat-ready force to protect and defend the collective maritime interests of the United States and its regional allies and partners. Collectively, the VINCSG is made up of more than 7,000 sailors, capable of performing a wide variety of missions around the world.