First US Marine Corps F-35C squadron deploys on USS Abraham Lincoln


According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on January 3, 2022, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) has marked a key milestone for Marine Corps history as they departed San Diego Bay with Carrier Air Wing Nine aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as the first Marine squadron to deploy the F-35C on an aircraft carrier.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, arrive aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (Picture source: U.S. DoD)


The Marine Corps possessing the capability to deploy the F-35C is significant as the F-35C was designed and built specifically for aircraft carrier operations and brings with it the ability to enhance the inherent battlespace awareness of all naval aircraft it operates alongside.

3rd MAW has recently demonstrated the F-35’s strike capabilities by utilizing its F-35 squadrons in long-range aerial strike exercises. During Exercise Summer Fury 21, a 3rd MAW squadron flew the F-35 from Miramar to Washington State, a distance of more than one thousand miles, to deliver long-range precision fires on a designated target.

VMFA-314 was the first Marine Corps squadron to transition to the F-35C variant of the joint strike fighter after retiring its legacy F/A-18A/C aircraft and receiving its first F-35C on 21 January 2020.

The F-35C is the first and world’s only long-range stealth strike fighter designed and built explicitly for Navy carrier operations.

Its configuration, embedded sensors, internal fuel, and weapons capacity, aligned edges, and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes all contribute to the F-35’s unique Very Low Observable stealth performance. This enables pilots to evade enemy detection and operate in anti-access and contested environments, improving lethality and survivability.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) is a United States Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II squadron.

The squadron, known as the "Black Knights", is based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11) and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3d MAW), but deploys with the US Navy's Carrier Air Wing Nine (NG).


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