Navy's First F-35C Lightning II Squadron Surpasses 1000 Flight Hours
By CNAF PAO
San Diego, California – (NNS)
– November 21, 1014 – The "Grim Reapers" of Strike
Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the Navy's first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant
squadron, reached a milestone in November 2014 by surpassing 1,000 mishap-free
flight hours in the F-35C.
An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant
JSF conducts its first arrested landing aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68)
As the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, VFA-101, homeported at Eglin Air
Force Base, Florida, trains Navy aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and
repair the aircraft.
"I am incredibly proud of the 'Grim Reapers' for accomplishing this milestone,"
said Cmdr. Frederick Crecelius, VFA-101's commanding officer. "With each
additional flight hour, the men and women of VFA-101 are paving the way for the
future of Naval Aviation."
The unit became the Navy's first F-35C squadron after receiving the aircraft
June 22, 2013, from Lockheed Martin, and completed the first check flight, Aug.
"The 1,000-hour milestone not only demonstrates the incredible teamwork of
VFA-101," said Crecelius. "It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the
capabilities of the aircraft and how this fifth-generation fighter will enhance
the flexibility, power projection, and strike capabilities of the carrier air
An F-35C flies the squadron's
first local sortie (VFA)101
While VFA-101 remains involved in preparations for the F-35C to achieve
initial operational capability in 2018, the F-35 Lightning II Integrated Test
Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 located at Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, Maryland, completed its first phase of developmental testing for
the F-35C aboard an aircraft carrier Nov. 14. During the initial testing phase,
the aircraft demonstrated exceptional performance throughout its sea trails
aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
The F-35C is a fifth-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with
fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled
operations and advanced sustainment. The F-35C will complement the capabilities
of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy's premier
strike fighter. By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will
consist of a mix of the F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler, E-2D
Hawkeye, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike air vehicles,
MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.
Since June 1942, "Grim Reapers" has served as the name used to identify three
different squadrons - Fighter Squadron (VF) 10, VF-101 and now VFA-101 - flying
various aircraft, including the F4F Wildcat, the FG1-D Corsair, the F-4 Phantom,
the F-14 Tomcat and currently the F-35C.
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