ARLINGTON, Va. --- The Navy is mulling how it will accelerate adding the capability for the next Ford-class aircraft carrier to launch, recover and maintain F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, officials said earlier this month.
Operating under a mandate from the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the Navy is planning on how it will incorporate the eight major changes to allow the F-35Cs to operate from the under-construction John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) by the time of its 2024 delivery. Kennedy was originally set to deploy with only the current carrier airwing until modifications were added at a later maintenance availability to add F-35s.
“Modifying the ship, that takes money. The GFE systems, the landing system I need, the different way I need to maintain the F-35, that’s going to take some resources — money and time to get it done,” Capt. Philip Malone, the officer in charge of the development of the next three aircraft carriers, said at the annual Surface Navy Association conference.
“We’re evaluating what the time is to integrate those technologies on John F. Kennedy, and now I have to work the budget.”
Specifically, modifications include changes to the maintenance areas and pilot ready rooms and the installation of jet blast deflectors on the carrier deck, Malone said. Of the new equipment that’s needed, about 60 percent of it is furnished by the Navy, while the rest comes from the Newport News Shipbuilding yard that builds aircraft carriers. (end of excerpt)
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