F35C, a 5th-gen jet, does first mission at South China Sea

IDD Update

The world’s only long-range fifth generation stealth strike fighter capable of a launch from an aircraft carrier, the F35C, has just done its first mission in the South China Sea.

On September 10, the US Navy announced it was the first time that a carrier strike group was operating in the South China Sea with the advanced capabilities of the F-35C Lightning II and Navy CMV-22B Osprey tilt rotor helicopter.

The hydro carbon rich South China Sea is contested between six countries. China which is one among the six countries, it illegally lays its claims over large swathes of the sea and has built artificial islands to further its claims sea.

A General Atomics Drone

China maritime law tackled with this sail.

Actions of the US Navy means it is ready to take on China in the region. A new Chinese law requires all foreign vessels to notify maritime authorities about its name, call sign, current position, next port of call, and estimated time of arrival before entering ‘Chinese territorial waters’.  The law came into force on September 1, five types of foreign vessels — submersibles, nuclear-powered vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials, ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas or other toxic substances, as well the seemingly catch-all ‘vessels that may endanger China’s maritime traffic safety’ — will be required by law to provide detailed information to state authorities on entering ‘Chinese territorial waters’, according to a notice released by China’s maritime safety authorities on August 27. Read IDD Insight into this

F35C and the South China Sea

Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) and their embarked Air Wing of the Future, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, are operating in the South China Sea in order to uphold the free and open use of Indo-Pacific waters in support of security and stability in the region, announced the US Navy. Read it here

Prior to entering the South China Sea, VINCSG and CVW-2 conducted joint interoperability flights with U.K. Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 21 and participated in Large Scale Exercise 2021. Read the IDD report on this

“Safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific means understanding the space, electromagnetic, and information environment along this vital international maritime highway.”

Capt. Tony Butera, VINCSG’s information warfare commander.

Operations conducted enhanced multi-domain understanding of, ensuring the information warfare teams onboard ships to better support the carrier strike group’s overall goals of maintaining security, promoting stability, and preventing conflict.

Why is the F35 C important

The jet can carry 5,000 lbs ( 2.26 Tonnes)  of internal weapons, or more than 18,000 lbs ( 8.16 tonnes) of combined internal and external weapons.  It is truly a fifth generation fighter jet. Read it here 

The dual use weapons package allows the Navy to operate in stealth when necessary, or increase lethality with additional weapons externally when the air space is permissive.

Designed and built explicitly for Navy carrier operations, its configuration, embedded sensors, internal fuel and weapons capacity, aligned edges, and state of the art manufacturing processes all contribute to the F-35’s unique very low observable stealth performance. This enables pilots to evade enemy detection and operate in anti-access and contested environments, improving lethality and survivability.

An F35C takes off from the USS Carl Vinson : Pic US Navy

“When we deployed, we brought with us the unprecedented stealth, electronic warfare and vertical lift capabilities of the Air Wing of the Future and these platforms have delivered,” said Rear Adm. Dan Martin, commander, VINCSG.

The emerging technologies enhance capabilities and improve effectiveness. The new tools and technology of the air wing of the future, to include the new sets of multispectral sensors and the information they provide, have increased our lethality and survivability. 

With integrated passive and active sensors, the air wing provides battlespace awareness for strike groups and fleet commanders. It allows fleet commanders the ability to project power in new and powerful ways.

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