Navy’s Future Carrier Air Wing Configuration Coming Into Focus

 In Sea, Air, Forces & Capabilities, U.S. Navy
Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) returns to its homeport in San Diego in this 2018 photograph. U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Reymundo A. Villegas III

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has laid out the planned con­fig­u­ra­tion of its car­ri­er air wings of the future in a pre­sen­ta­tion to a con­ven­tion of active and retired naval avi­a­tion per­son­nel. 

Speaking Sept. 11 at the Virtual Hook con­ven­tion webi­nar of the Tailhook Association, Rear Adm. Gregory N. Harris, direc­tor of Air Warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, addressed the future and spec­i­fied to some degree the num­bers and types of air­craft in the future air wing envi­sioned by the end of the 2020s. 

As illus­trat­ed in a PowerPoint slide, the future wing would still include 44 strike fight­ers as it does now, but the mix of Block 4 F‑35C Lightning II fight­ers and Block III F/A‑18E/F Super Hornet fight­ers changes from 10 and 34, respec­tive­ly, to 16 and 28. The strike fight­ers would equip one 16-aur­craft F‑35C squadron and three 10-air­craft F/A‑18E/F squadron.  

The other air­craft in the wing would include five-to-seven EA-18G Growler elec­tron­ic combat air­craft, five E‑2D Advanced Hawkeye com­mand-and-con­trol air­craft, six-to-ten MH-60 Seahawk heli­copters, three CMV-22B Osprey car­ri­er-onboard deliv­ery air­craft, and five-to-nine MQ‑9 Stingray aerial tanker unmanned air­craft.  

Next year, USS Carl Vinson will deploy, taking a 10-air­craft F‑35C squadron (Strike Fighter Squadron 147) on the aircraft’s first car­ri­er deploy­ment. The ship also will carry two 10-air­craft F/A‑18E squadrons and one 14-air­craft F/A‑18F squadron, accord­ing to a source. 

The deploy­ment also will mark the first for the CMV-22B.  

The second car­ri­er deploy­ment of the F‑35C is sched­uled in 2022 by Marine Fighter Attack 314.  

Seapower source|articles

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