F-35C: expected success in debut
The carrier force, led by the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier (of the Nimitz class), left the base in San Diego on the Pacific coast and headed across the Pacific Ocean to the Middle East.
The trip is generally routine, with the goal of training the crew, practicing training tasks with allies and protecting US interests in the Middle East.
But there is one significant difference.
Aviation The Carl Vinson Group will for the first time use a carrier-based modification of the latest F-35C fighter-bomber.
Simultaneously with the F-35C, it is planned to use the EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft and the latest modernization of the E-2D AWACS aircraft.
Electronic warfare aircraft EA-18G
American specialists are confident that this combination will provide the aircraft with maximum efficiency in performing the assigned tasks. Experts argue that such a grouping of aircraft is capable of destroying enemy radars, command posts, tracking and guidance centers and fighters before the enemy can even detect a strike group in the air.
Therefore, the aviation group "Karl Vinson" has been somewhat changed. In addition to the latest modification of the Supercot F / A-18E-F, there will be a dozen F-35Cs on board. The EA-18G “Growler” electronic warfare aircraft will also be larger than usual: seven instead of five in the state. And there are also more AWACS E-2D "Hawkeyes" aircraft: five instead of four.
This only suggests that, indeed, the command's plans include a very active use of electronic reconnaissance and warfare aircraft in groups with fighter-bombers.
Plus, on board the aircraft carrier there is a new modification of the CMV-22B "Osprey", the capabilities of which will also be tested in the conditions of the upcoming exercises.
Considering that before going to sea, the flight crew of the air groups was able to receive sufficient training on the ground, all that remains is to work out the application directly from the deck.
The new aircraft wing layout scheme, according to American military experts, will have not only greater efficiency in inflicting damage on the enemy, but also greater survivability.
The stake will be placed on the EA-18G "Growler", which will be the center of non-kinetic attacks against the enemy, and an increase in the number of these aircraft will give the air group more opportunities to repel electronic warfare attacks from the enemy, and more impact on the enemy by all non-kinetic methods.
Plus an increase in the number of "eyes" in the form of an additional and, moreover, modernized E-2D, which carries out aerial control of the space.
And the initial trump card of the F-35C in the form of radar stealth and the latest avionics becomes the third component that increases the wing's chances of survival in combat conditions.
So, reconnaissance, early detection of the enemy, the use of electronic warfare to suppress enemy detection systems, stealth and missiles.
And American experts believe that the main thing in this is to limit the enemy's ability to detect American air groups. Indeed, enemy reconnaissance assets can be disabled by surprise attacks from the F-35C, which will be guided by the target designations of the E-2D and under the reliable cover of the EA-18G. Well, then it's the usual thing - the Americans know how to work with complete air superiority.
So the prospects really (in the opinion of the Americans) have a place to be.
And about logistics. Here, too, there are some innovations.
Previously, all transport functions for urgent deliveries on board an aircraft carrier (personnel, mail, spare parts and other useful cargo) were assigned to the C-2A "Greyhound".
The old Greyhound has been plowing for the Navy since 1966 and it is high time to replace it. There is nothing eternal.
By the way, the E-2D Hawkeye was also created by Grumman on the basis of the C-2A. With all the ensuing consequences.
Now transport and logistics operations are planned to be assigned to the CMV-22B "Osprey", not an airplane, but a tiltrotor. The most interesting thing here is that the Osprey's cargo compartment can accommodate, for example, an engine for the F-35, which is not possible with the compartment on the C-2A. And this is a very big step forward in terms of the technical reliability of the entire aviation group.
In addition, the CMV-22B has long been used by the United States Marine Corps. Famous car. The CMV-22B can fly at night, which was not available for the C-2A. The tiltrotor is certified for night flights, and although personnel are not officially transported at night, in case of accidents when it is necessary to urgently bring spare parts and equipment, the CMV-22B will be very useful.
Plus, the tiltrotor has a longer range than an airplane.
In general, the strike group is quite successful. One could look for flaws in it, but ...
Unfortunately, we do not have anything even close at our disposal. The 5th generation carrier-based fighter is only in words (yes, the MiG-29K is 4+, but this is the MiG-29K, an aircraft from the last century), there are no electronic warfare and AWACS carrier-based aircraft at all.
We often say that an aircraft carrier is a tool for fighting third world countries. Very vulnerable to attacks such as submarines.
In general, as the practice of using AUG by the United States shows, this is indeed the case. And in terms of "education" of third world countries, and in terms of vulnerability.
However, this kind of projection of power, which the United States will experience in practice in terms of the use of new aircraft, and possibly successful, makes us look differently at so useless aircraft carriers. AUG from an aircraft carrier, 1-2 missile cruisers and 6-8 destroyers will be very effective weapons in any local conflict.
Although "Zircon" or "Caliber" can still become a limitation of the capabilities of the AUG, even in the new format. But this is a topic for another conversation. As well as the possibility of Russian and Chinese detection equipment.
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