Home Americas USS Carl Vinson first carrier to deploy with F-35C, CMV-22B Ospreys

USS Carl Vinson first carrier to deploy with F-35C, CMV-22B Ospreys

USS Carl Vinson deploys with F-35C Joint Strike Fighters
Sailors man the rails of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on August 2, 2021. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (CVCSG) got underway from San Diego on August 2 for a deployment that will start with a major new exercise.

Led by Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson will take part in Large Scale Exercise 2021, a new type of exercise which is expected to involve multiple aircraft carriers and amphibious ready groups.

LSE 2021 is envisioned as a virtual and globally-integrated exercise that spans multiple fleets, designed to refine synchronized maritime operations based on a progression of scenarios that will assess modern warfare concepts in support of the joint force, the navy says.

The deployment also marks the first time that a carrier strike group is deploying with the advanced capabilities of the F-35C Lightning II and Navy CMV-22B Osprey, the navy’s new carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft.

Less than a year ago, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), completed a 17-month maintenance period and retrofit, during which the ship underwent a complete restoration and system retrofit to accommodate F-35C Lightning II mission capabilities.

“Vinson is the first carrier to accommodate a mix of 4th and 5th generation strike fighters, providing unprecedented lethality and survivability and ensuring the Navy team can operate and win in contested battlespace now and well into the future,” said Capt. Tommy Locke, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2. “Integrating the new aircraft has truly been a team effort and using these new tools and technology—new sets of multispectral sensors and the information they provide—will increase lethality and survivability of the air wing and strike group. We plan on leveraging recently established tactics, techniques and procedures and developing innovative ways to use the new technologies to enhance our combined warfighting efforts.”

Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group include: USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers of DESRON 1, which include USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and USS Stockdale (DDG 106).

CVW-2 consists of an F-35C squadron, the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147; three F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadrons, the “Bounty Hunters” of VFA-2, the “Stingers” of VFA-113, and the “Golden Dragons” of VFA-192; the “Gauntlets” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 136, operating the EA-18G Growler; the “Black Eagles” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 113, operating the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye; the “Titans” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30, operating the CMV-22B Osprey; the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, operating the MH-60S Seahawk; and the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, operating the MH-60R Seahawk.

The first stop of the carrier strike group’s deployment will be Large Scale Exercise 2021, a Pentagon drill executed by US Indo-Pacific Command, incorporating US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps forces, alongside armed forces from the UK, Australia, and Japan.

This all-domain exercise will take place across the Indo-Pacific region in the form of field training, logistical support activities, amphibious landings, airborne and ground maneuvers, air operations, maritime operations, and special operations activities.

LSE 2021 is designed to refine how the navy synchronizes maritime operations across multiple fleets in support of the joint force. The training is based on a progression of fleet battle problems and scenarios that will assess and refine modern warfare concepts, including distributed maritime operations, expeditionary advanced base operations, and littoral operations in a contested environment.

“We have shifted focus from the individual Carrier Strike Group to a larger fleet-centric approach, challenging fleet commanders’ abilities to make decisions at a speed and accuracy that outpaces the adversaries,” said Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, US Fleet Forces Command. “LSE is more than just training; it is leveraging the integrated fighting power of multiple naval forces to share sensors, weapons, and platforms across all domains in contested environments, globally.”

Included in the exercise will be evaluations of experimental technology from a variety of warfare areas including unmanned technologies.