WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The acting director of air warfare on the Chief of Naval Operations staff reaffirmed the Navy's commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter Program as the centerpiece for the future of naval aviation during a media roundtable May 24 at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
"I want to dispel the contention that the Navy is soft on F-35C," said Rear Adm. Michael C. Manazir. "The Navy has had the F-35C in her horizon for more than a decade. As we built the path from F/A-18 aircraft on to the carrier to fifth generation, we grew the E/F Super Hornets in the limits of fourth generation capability. We now need to move into the F-35C to realize our vision for TACAIR (tactical air) coming off the carriers."
Manazir said the aircraft will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets now serving as the Navy's premier strike fighter.
"When you bring F-35C to the carrier with a fully developed weapon system and a Super Hornet E/F along with F/A-18G, the synergy is more complimentary when we get to a greater level of war fighting off the carrier," said Manzir, who is a fighter pilot and former USS Nimitz (CVN 68) commanding officer. "The F-35C brings stealth, sensor and data fusion, and a system to systems approach to war fighting allowing it to get in there on day one in an anti-access denial type of fight. It also communicates across a wide range of networks providing data to a broader range of people sometimes with or with out the pilot's knowledge, often communicating to other fifth generation airplanes."
The F-35C is designed to enhance the flexibility, power projection and strike capabilities of carrier airings and joint task forces, sporting a stealthy design, internal weapons carriage, fully fused mission systems and an unrefueled combat radius of more than 600 nautical miles.
The Navy's first Joint Strike Fighter squadron is scheduled to begin transition in 2014, with a first deployment scheduled in December 2016 followed by a second deployment in February 2017. The Department of the Navy's planned procurement is 680 F-35 aircraft.
For more news, visit www.navy.mil.