USN JSF Wing to Oversee F-35C Operations, Training, Manning

F-35 unit & base selection, delivery, activation
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Unread post30 Nov 2018, 08:21

Navy Stands Up Joint Strike Fighter Wing to Oversee F-35C Operations, Training, Manning [BEST READ ALL at URL]
29 Nov 2018 Megan Eckstein

"The Navy has stood up a Joint Strike Fighter Wing in Lemoore, Calif., that will oversee training, manning and readiness of all the service’s F-35C squadrons. Capt. Max McCoy, the commodore of the squadron, told USNI News in a recent interview that having a single point-person overseeing all Navy efforts related to operating and maintaining the new airplanes will prove to be a smart decision. “The F-35C is unlike any other airplane we’ve had to date. It brings unique capability; how we sustain and maintain it is different; and it offers new ways of training our pilots to fly it,” he said....

...In many ways, the JSF Wing will operate like any other type wing in the Navy that oversees any of the other planes or helicopters in the carrier air wing. McCoy oversees all the F-35C squadrons and reports directly to the Commander of Naval Air Forces. However, whereas the other communities have an East Coast and a West Coast wing, the JSF Wing in Lemoore will be the sole wing, to ensure the growing F-35C community has a single voice and a single path forward as the Navy learns best practices for operating, maintaining, sustaining and manning the fleet.

A first priority for the new wing, which formally stood up on Oct. 1, is getting Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 ready for operational testing and an initial operational capability (IOC) declaration early in 2019. VFA-147 will pave the way for the fleet as the squadron to go through the IOC process and then the first to deploy. McCoy said the squadron is fully manned and operating like any other squadron in the Navy. Pilots have been conducting field carrier landings ashore, ahead of heading out to sea to conduct carrier qualifications on USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Once all the pilots are carrier-qualified in early December, the squadron will be declared safe for flight “and then they’ll be off to the races operating” ahead of their formal testing....

...McCoy and the JSF Wing are not solely focused on that squadron, though. They are overseeing the work of two Fleet Replacement Squadrons to train both brand new pilots and those transferring from other plane types. They are working with test pilots and Top Gun pilots to sort out tactics and best practices. They are working with the F-35 Joint Program Office and manufacturer Lockheed Martin to nail down maintenance and logistics issues. And they are coordinating with resource sponsors at the Pentagon and with F-35A and B leadership in the Air Force and Marine Corps to log lessons learned and best set the F-35C program up for success now and down the road....

...For now, there’s still a lot to learn, but McCoy said the F-35C maintainer base was growing quickly and that pilot production should accelerate soon too. The F-35C community is about 400 or 500 strong, with more than 50 pilots to date. “Right now we’re small in the sense that we’re a small community in the Navy, we’re building experience with our sailors and our pilots, we’re getting more aircraft,” McCoy said....

...Overall, the commodore said, “we will get better faster the sooner I get the airplane in the hands of sailors and junior officers who are either going to maintain or fly it. As any platform, it doesn’t matter what the capability is, but it’s those individuals that, the more they fly it, they discover better ways of doing things. And that ultimately leads to operational readiness improvements: for the sailor side of it, the guys working on it, that means they get up jets much faster, more mission-capability. And then with our pilots, as they fly it and they understand the mission systems better, they’re capable of refining the tactics we use. So I think what we’ll see is exponential growth in the next few years as we bring more of the junior folks into it and they learn how the system operates. And I will tell you right now, talking to the people who work for me, they really like working on the airplane and they like flying the airplane. So those are good signs, and I think there’s a lot of positive stuff in our future.”"

GOOD Photos at the URL.

Source: https://news.usni.org/2018/11/29/navy-s ... ng-manning
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/

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