The new aircraft the US Navy needs to cover its ‘golden mile’ just took another major step forward

US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 3rd Class Brooke Macchietto The Navy said it would swap out the aging C-2A Greyhound aircraft used to resupply aircraft carriers for new CMV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in January 2015.

As the service has gotten closer to deploying with its variant of the Joint Strike fighter, the F-35C, the need for the V-22’s heavy-lifting capacity has grown more urgent. And after a round of tests in early August, the Navy is a step closer to meeting its resupply and logistics needs.

Aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush this month, Osprey pilots successfully performed rolling landings and takeoffs at a total weight of more than 57,000 pounds, outstripping the C-2A’s maximum landing weight of 49,000 pounds.

The US has launched a major challenge to China and North Korea with a first deployment in the Pacific Ocean of an aircraft carrier with F-35B jets. The assault ship the USS Wasp has been specially modified to take the US Marine Corps’ Fighter Attack Squadron 121. The F-35 is capable of short take-offs and vertical landing variants, and is equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat weapons. US pilots are scheduled to carry out a series of flights over several days, after which the F-35s and more than 2,000 US Marines will deploy aboard ships for operations in the Indo-Pacific region as part of what the military describes as a routine patrol to strengthen regional alliances and provide rapid-response capability. “This is a historic development,” said Colonel Tye R. Wallace in a US Navy news statement. “The F-35B is the most capable aircraft ever to support a Marine rifleman on the ground.” The fighter jet’s development programme hit a series of delays but the US has still pulled ahead of its rivals such as China and Russia. The plane is capable of precision strikes, can penetrate enemy airspaces and guide destroyers to fire missiles to targets ashore. China has been asserting its influence in the South China Sea by building up military facilities on artificial islands and conducting fighter jet drills in the region. However, it has struggled to field its own jets that could be seen as a match for the US F-35s. North Korea – not a major air power – is also expected to have difficulty tracking the new jets now deployed in its zone. The USS Wasp is currently conducting patrols in the East China Sea after leaving a base in Japan.

Media: Euronews

The Osprey’s vertical-lift capability, along with its ability to reach fixed-wing aircraft speed and range, make it ideal for carrier onboard delivery and vertical on-board delivery, the Navy says. That extra lifting capacity also provides a missing link in the Navy’s plans for the F-35C.

The engine in the F-35C and the Marine Corps’ variant, the F-35B (which has already deployed to an amphibious assault ship) is too heavy for platforms like the MH-60 helicopter and too big for the C-2A. Only the V-22 combines the range and lifting ability to get the engine over the […]

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