The Commander of Naval Air Forces and the US Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation jointly announced that the aircraft carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C Lightning II, met all requirements and achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
The announcement comes shortly after the Department of the Navy’s first F-35C squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, completed aircraft carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and received Safe-For-Flight Operations Certification. The F-35C is the final US Joint Strike Fighter variant to declare IOC and follows the USAF’s F-35A and USMC’s F-35B.
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).
Additionally, the ship that supports the first squadron must possess the proper infrastructure, qualifications, and certifications. Lastly, the Joint Program Office, industry, and Naval Aviation must demonstrate that all procedures, processes, and policies are in place to sustain operations.
“The F-35C is ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win,” said Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller, the Commander of Naval Air Forces. “We are adding an incredible weapon system into the arsenal of our Carrier Strike Groups that significantly enhances the capability of the joint force.”