Tag Archives: aircraft carrier

US Navy’s newest Hornet playground near service entry

The US Navy’s newest playground for its Hornets, Super Hornets and – in the future – Lightning II multi-role fighters is nearing its entry into service. The US Navy press office has confirmed that the USS Gerald R. Ford – an aircraft carrier of a new kind – will be delivered in September.

First CVN 78 will undergo ship sea trials between July and August.

F/A-18E Super Hornet on AAG

The almost 13 billion dollar vessel has been plagued with delays. One of them being the new catapult system, which no longer uses steam but electromagnetics to launch aircraft into the air.

Also, the new turbo-electric landing system has been cause for concern, but manufacturer General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems just reported the first aircraft arrest with the Advanced Arresting Gear on 31 March, done with a US Navy Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18E Super Hornet on the tarmac of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

CVN 78 USS Gerald R. Ford in the James River during the ship's launch and transit to Newport News Shipyard pier three for the final stages of construction and testing. Ford was christened Nov. 9, 2013, and is under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipyard. (Image © Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Aidan P. Campbell / US Navy)
CVN 78 USS Gerald R. Ford in the James River during the ship’s launch and transit to Newport News Shipyard pier three for the final stages of construction and testing. Ford was christened Nov. 9, 2013, and is under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipyard. (Image © Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Aidan P. Campbell / US Navy)

Legendary USS Nimitz

With an official 97 percent of the US Navy’s next-generation supercarrier complete, Newport News Shipbuilding is confident with that the Ford can replace the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) later this year.

At the same time the builder says it is cutting down costs for the second ship in the class, the USS John F. Kennedy, that will trade places with the legendary USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in 2021.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A F/A-18F Super Hornet makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The ship is planned to be replaced by the next-generation supercarrier USS Enterprise (CVN 80) by 2025 (Image © Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Casey S. Trietsch / US Navy)

French Marine Rafales in cohesive war games

The French Navy put the spearhead of its military power out in the Mediterranean this week. A nuclear attack submarine, anti-submarine frigate Montcalm and air defense frigate Chevalier Paul formed around aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The cream on top of this Task Force 473 were 12 Dassault Rafale M.

Landivisau Airbase’s 11F Squadron was one of the centre pieces in what is officially called the PEAN: Période d’Entraînement de l’Aéronautique Navale, or Training Period of Naval Aviation. Target is to test the operational qualification and cohesion of the air-maritime rapid reaction force. Area of conduct: a 150 miles (240 km) stretch of sea between Toulon and the island of Corsica.

Together with navy personnel on board the ships of TF 473 the Rafale Ms trained on anti-air, anti-ship, combat air rescue and air support missions. The PEAN period is concluded with an air and sea power projection on a simulated enemy, lasting two days.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by the Marine Nationale

> Related: French Atlantique leader of the pack over Iraq

Launch! A Rafale M leaves the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (Image © Marine Nationale)
Launch! A Rafale M leaves the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (Image © Marine Nationale)

“No Royal Navy, but American F-35s on board British aircraft carrier”

Not the Royal Navy/Royal Air Force’s 14 planned F-35Bs will sail with the new British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, but similar stealthy fighters of the United States Marine Corps. At least in the first years of the sea operations of the new naval asset if London will have its way, according to fresh reports from BBC Newsnight.

As insiders and sources to the BBC have confirmed the Royal Navy is likely not be able to field its essential air coverage on board the Queen Elizabeth until 2021 or later, while the carrier is planned to report for duty in 2018. Having such a strategic asset without anything proper to fly from it than helicopters, will put further delay on training of the vessel’s crew. Thus a fully ready British carrier combat group might not be able to sail earlier than 2023 to 2025.

Inviting the US Marine Corps, which plans to have their F-35Bs vertical take-off and landing jets operational by 2016, seems to be a logic request. It won’t even be such a problem in military operational terms, since the United Kingdom and the United States often go to war together. If the American say “yes” the two countries are even more able than before to train on interoperability of their armed forces, while the UK can deploy its carrier with air defence assets in place.

But as one of our fans with insight in aviation points out to us via our twitter.com/airheadsfly: “Inviting is one thing. To implement another Marines’ unit will keep their ships empty to fill the British one.” Absolutely right, in case Washington says yes we believe that no more than a skeleton USMC F-35B force of 4 to 6 aircraft will land and operate from the Queen Elizabeth at a time.

A F-35B prototype during flight trials on board LHD-1 USS Wasp (Image © US Navy)
This future of the Royal Navy will be delayed until 2021 or later. Seen here is a F-35B prototype, during the tests on board the vessel LHD-1 USS Wasp. (Image © US Navy)

Even when the British own Lightning II stealthy jet force is at full strength in 2021 it will take some years for the fighter jocks and ground crews to work up to full combat operational status. The US Marines and US Navy are much further in their planning, with Navy’s F-35C recently conducting successful sea trials.

Harrier
A proud British product, the British Aerospace Harrier and Sea Harrier were once THE air asset of the British naval fighting force, providing critical combat power during the 1982 Falklands War / Guerra de las Malvinas against Argentina. Shipborne “jumpjets” saw combat again during the operations Deny Flight, Deliberate Force and Allied Force in the 1990s over the former Yugoslavian republics.

Until the introduction into service of the Lockheed F-35B Lightning II the last take-off from a British aircraft carrier by a UK fighter jet was done on 24 November 2010, when a Harrier took of from HMS Ark Royal shortly before this aircraft carrier itself was decommissioned.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

> See our full F-35 coverage

Computer rendering of a fully operational HMS Queen Elizabeth with a F-35B force and Merlin helicopters parked on the flight deck (Image © BAE Systems)
Computer rendering of a fully operational HMS Queen Elizabeth with a larger than planned F-35B force and Merlin helicopters parked on the flight deck (Image © BAE Systems)

Russia’s sole aircraft carrier moves forward

The Admiral Kuznetsov in January 1996. Photo taken on the flight deck by visiting US Navy personnel. Here the ship sails with Su-27Ks (Image © US Navy)
The Admiral Kuznetsov in January 1996. Photo taken on the flight deck by visiting US Navy personnel. Here the ship sails with Su-27Ks (Image © US Navy)

Russia’s sole fully capable aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is moving again as of 28 March 2014. The Northern Fleet flagship has spent the past months on a long journey from its home in Murmansk.

The Kuznetsov, officially designated heavy aircraft carrying missile cruiser (tyazholyy avianesushchiy raketnyy kreyser or TAVKR), has been restocked by the tanker Sergey Osipov in the eastern Mediterranean and is now moving to an operations area south-west of the island of Cyprus, the Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed. Over the next few days naval aviators from the Northern Fleet Air Wing will practice carrier qualification and operation flights with their Sukhoi Su-33s fighter jets and Kamov Ka-27 maritime helicopters.

During the long voyage of the flagship of the Russian navy, which began on 17 December 2013, the Northern Fleet Air Wing pilots have made 300 sorties accumulating 260 hours of flight. Although new MiG-29K Fulcrums are coming into service to enlarge the combat capabilities of the Russian Navy Aviation, they were not mentioned in Moscow’s press release.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger with source information from the Russian Ministry of Defence

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Recent photo released on 28 March 2014 of Sukhoi Su-33s on board the Kuznetsov (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)
Recent photo released on 28 March 2014 of Sukhoi Su-33s on board the Kuznetsov
(Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)

US Navy’s best AWACS now fully operational

An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the Tiger Tails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 flies over Naval Station Norfolk on 20 March 2014. The unit is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 1 that will board aircraft carrier CVN71 USS Theodore Roosevelt (Image © Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott / US Navy)
An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the Tigertails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 flies over Naval Station Norfolk on 20 March 2014. The unit is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 1 that will board aircraft carrier CVN71 USS Theodore Roosevelt (Image © Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott / US Navy)

Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 (VAW-125) based at NAS Norfolk became the first US Navy squadron to be fully operational with Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye, the most advanced AWACS of the American shipborne air power, on 27 March 2014.

The “Tigertails” – the nickname of VAW-125 – are now tasked to use this newest asset in keeping an aircraft carrier group out of harm’s way, providing the eyes and ears of the fleet long before the fleet itself arrives.

Hawkeyes are able to coordinate concurrent missions which may arise during a single flight. These missions can include airborne strike, ground force support, rescue operations and managing a reliable communications network capable of supporting drug interdiction operations. Each USN E-2D squadron will operate four, sometimes five Hawkeyes.

Source: US Navy

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