ATLANTIC OCEAN, (WAVY) — Crews onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln are adjusting to the Navy’s newest fighter jet, the F-35C.
Earlier this week, 10 On Your Side traveled to the Lincoln to get a glimpse of the jets integrating with an air wing on board an aircraft for the first time.
“It’s been amazing to see how we keep the deck rolling,” said Captain Putnam Browne, who is the commanding officer for the Lincoln.
Putnam says this is the first time in six years the ship’s conducted cyclical flight operations. It’s also the first time for operations with a new air wing, and sailors have quickly adjusted.
“The crew really rises to the challenge. I’m really impressed with what we’re doing and how we’re integrating as an air wing team,” he said.
Rear Admiral Dale Horan, the director of Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration, says there’s a sense of pride among the sailors because of this first important step.
“The F-35C looked just like any other airplane up there on the flight deck and launching. I think that’s the best example of how it’s going so far,” he said.
Horan says the fighter jet brings stealth capabilities the Navy needs.
The integration process going on now lets them observe and learn what challenges they face with the jet.
“We hope to see how it integrates onboard the ship. Can we maintain it? Can we get the parts? Can we get it airborne? Can we repair it if it fails, if it has a problem? How does it conduct its mission. How’s its effectiveness? Those are the kind of things,” he said.
And that will take some time. There will be more months of testing and monitoring.
Horan says the expected deployment date for the F-35C is in 2021.