Black Knights receives it’s first F-35C stealth fighter jet

Defence Blog

The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has reported that Marine Wing Fighter Assault Squadron (VMFA) 314, the “Black Knights”, acquired the Marine Corps’ first F-35C Lightning II on Jan. 21, 2020.

“It must be no shock that VMFA-314 is as soon as once more main the way in which into the following era of fighter assault plane,” mentioned Lt. Col Cedar Hinton, commanding officer of VMFA-314.

The squadron’s historical past started with its commissioning in 1943 at MCAS Cherry Level, North Carolina, because the “Bob’s Cats.” In 1952, they had been the primary squadron in third MAW to transition to jet plane and fly the F-9F Panther. In 1957, they formally grew to become the “Black Knights” with the arrival of the F-4D Skyray. In October 1961, the “Black Knights” had been the primary Marine Corps squadron to transition to the F-4B Phantom and in 1982, the primary within the Division of the Navy to fly the F/A-18 Hornet.

The “Black Knights” have confirmed themselves repeatedly from campaigns within the South Pacific to the Vietnam Warfare and from Operation El Dorado Canyon to the World Warfare on Terror. VMFA-314’s storied historical past ought to give the American individuals confidence that the “Black Knights” will proceed to repair, fly, and battle the following era of plane.

The F-35C is one in all three variants fielded by the Division of Protection. It’s a results of a long time of developments that present aviation capabilities beforehand thought unattainable.

The “C” variant was designed to function from an plane service and is the primary fifth era long-range stealth strike fighter jet designed for that mission. The F-35C’s management surfaces and touchdown gear are higher outfitted for service operation than the opposite variants. The F-35C is provided with bigger inner gasoline storage, which when mixed with its capability to refuel in-flight, extends its vary and permits for enhanced flight time when in comparison with different plane.

The F-35 variants embody the F-35A, which makes use of standard takeoff and touchdown and is designed to function from conventional land-based runways. The F-35B is a brief takeoff and vertical touchdown variant and particularly designed to function from austere airfields and amphibious ships. third MAW is proud that it now employs the primary F-35C squadron together with two F-35B squadrons with extra deliberate within the close to future.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Cedar L. Hinton, commanding officer of Marine Wing Fighter Assault Squadron (VMFA) 314, Marine Plane Group (MAG) 11, third Marine Plane Wing (MAW), lands VMFA-314’s first F-35C Lightning II on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Jan. 21, 2020.
Picture by Sgt. Charles Plouffe

“The F-35C represents the forefront of superior fighter assault plane at this time,” mentioned Hinton. “It can give the Black Knights a technological benefit throughout your entire spectrum of tactical aviation. This contains the whole lot from superior sensor and weapon integration to elevated vary and endurance. We can be extra survivable and extra deadly than now we have ever been.”

The “Black Knights” are actually one in all three F-35 squadrons in third MAW, with extra coming quickly, which provides credence to third MAW’s status because the Marine Corps’ premier and most deadly aviation wing.

The “Black Knights’” transition to the F-35C started in June 2019 and was marked by the normal “sun-down” ceremony the place VMFA-314 flew the Hornet for the final time. After which, they started coaching on the F-35C.

The following third MAW squadron set to transition from the F/A-18 is VMFA-225, which is able to have a good time their final F/A-18 flight on Jan. 23, 2020.

VMFA-314 spent the latter portion of 2019 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California getting ready for his or her operations certifications and finishing squadron-wide F-35C {qualifications}. This course of ensured the squadron was outfitted with certified personnel to implement the upkeep and security applications needed for an operational F-35 squadron.

“Transitioning a squadron into a brand new plane with many new Marines comes with plenty of challenges,” mentioned Hinton. “Nonetheless, it additionally gives a singular alternative to start out recent and construct a robust squadron tradition from the bottom up. We’re all extraordinarily excited to make sure the ‘Black Knights’ proceed our legacy of main from the entrance as we ship this new functionality to third MAW.”

third MAW will proceed to pave the way in which for the way forward for Marine Corps aviation and “Repair, Fly, and Battle” because the Marine Corps’ largest plane wing.

U.S Marine Corps Lt. Col Cedar L. Hinton, commanding officer of Marine Wing Fighter Assault Squadron (VMFA) 314, third Marine Plane Wing (MAW) lands VMFA-314’s first F-35C Lightning II on Marine Air Station Miramar, Calif., January 21, 2020. Picture by Sgt Dominic Romero