PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 18, 2020) – USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) successfully completed several certifications, including flight deck certification (FDC) and carrier air traffic control center (CATCC) certification, Sept. 17, after nearly a week of flight deck operations designed to ready the carrier for future operations.
The underway also marked the first time that Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Two and Vinson, both part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) One, fully integrated and operated together since the addition of the F-35C Lightning II to the squadron.
“The flight deck certification is one of many ways the Navy ensures the safety and readiness of our equipment and personnel,” said Rear Adm. Timothy J. Kott, commander, Carrier Strike Group One. “The fact that Vinson was able to safely and successfully complete the flight deck certification while operating with the Navy’s first operational F-35 squadron is an exciting bonus.”
FDC is required for the carrier to embark aircraft, the primary weapons system for the platform, and is designed to provide operational continuity and proficiency training for carrier crews. During FDC, the carrier is evaluated on its ability to launch and recover aircraft in a safe manner in both day and night time operations.
Vinson, along with four CVW-2 squadrons, also achieved certification in precision approach landing systems (PALS). In addition, six fixed-wing squadrons accomplished carrier qualifications.
“These certifications ensure that Vinson meets the standards and, in our case, we went above and beyond the certification requirements,” said Capt. Matthew Paradise, Vinson’s commanding officer. “I’m not surprised we did so well because every day the teamwork I saw demonstrated by the ship’s crew and the air wing was fantastic. Their technical expertise, attention to detail and hard work resulted in our successful completion of certifications.”
Prior to integrated operations with the air wing, Vinson underwent a 17-month maintenance availability to receive major upgrades in support of 5th generation aircraft, making Vinson the first aircraft carrier equipped to support both the F-35C Lightning II and CMV-22 Osprey. Upgrades included enhanced jet blast deflectors able to take the increased heat generated by the F-35C and the addition of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which is the new computer network that supports the unique maintenance and tactical operations functions of the advanced aircraft.
With its recent modifications, no other weapons system has the responsiveness, endurance, multi-dimensional might, inherent battlespace awareness or command and control capabilities of the Vinson and
Other components of the air wing include three U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) that fly the F/A-18 Super Hornet, one Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) that operates the EA-18G Growler, one Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) that operates the E-2C Hawkeye, one Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) and one Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC). Through multiplatform integration, CVW-2 will provide fleet commanders the ability to achieve the advantage across multiple domains: air, land, sea and electromagnetic.
Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations. These flight operations take detailed coordination between ship’s company and the air wing squadrons, and flight deck certification was an opportunity to build that relationship.
“Teamwork is everything,” said Capt. Matt Thrasher, commander of CVW-2. “Our Sailors and aircrew performed at a level that invigorates our team and reminds us of the task ahead. We are preparing for deployment. The success we experienced during our latest evolution is direct result of the hard-core training and…