In a story by USNI News’s Megan Eckstein published on August 27, 2018, the operation of F-35s onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln was highlighted.
ABOARD USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, IN THE ATLANTIC
The Navy’s F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter has been incorporated into a carrier air wing’s cyclic flight operations for the first time alongside aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7.
Since the JSF naval variant conducted its first takeoff and landing on a carrier in 2014, the plane has done extensive testing ashore and at sea. But never has the fighter been normalized in this way, with the ship’s flight deck crew treating it the same as any other aircraft onboard.
For the first time, F-35Cs launched, recovered and maneuvered around the flight deck alongside F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growlers and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes. Previous periods at sea had the F-35Cs operate by themselves in controlled test settings…..
Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration for the Navy, told reporters on the ship that this first operational test event was meant to validate “how the airplane handles on the aircraft carrier, how we do maintenance, how we sustain it while we’re at sea. And then how it integrates with the ship, how it interoperates with communications, data links, other aircraft, and then how we conduct the mission and tie into the other aircraft that are conducting that mission and how effective they are when they do it.”
He said the F-35Cs – which came from both Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and VFA-147, an F-35C fleet replacement squadron and operational squadron, respectively, out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. – were not simply launching and recovering but also, “conducting missions they would do in combat, if required. Conducting that training.”