US Marines and Sailors with VMFA-314 and VAW-117, respectively, flew together for the first time in San Diego, Calif.
Taken on Jan. 14, 2021 the interesting pictures in this post feature US Marines and Sailors with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 and Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, respectively, flying together for the first time in San Diego, Calif. VAW-117 flies the E-2D Hawkeye whereas VMFA-314 flies the F-35C Lightning II, this was the first time the two units practiced airborne interoperability.
In order to support transitions to F-35C, the US Marine Corps (USMC) procured 23 F-35Cs in FY19, and continues to deliver trained pilots to the joint Navy/Marine Corps F-35C FRSs and first USMC F-35C squadron. The USMC is currently contributing F-35C aircraft, instructor pilots and maintainers to USN F-35C FRSs.
VMFA-314 is the first USMC F-35C squadron. The unit is expected to train at a pace that will put them at a T2 rating by the middle of FY 2021, prepared to deploy in support of a CVN TAI deployment in early 2022. The Marine Corps will procure a total of 67 F35Cs to equip 4 Squadrons.
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) is the newest variant of the E-2 aircraft platform.
The E-2D features aerial refueling (AR) capability. With AR, the all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning and command and control aircraft will be able to remain airborne to the limits of the aircrew and airframe endurance. Aerial refueling-equipped aircraft will also feature new endurance seats, fuel system enhancements, and new exterior lighting. Aerial refueling increases the range and persistence of the E-2D AHE. The “eyes of the fleet” will see further and wider, equipping the warfighter for ever-evolving threats.
Photo credit: 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing