USS Carl Vinson and its strike group deployed Monday morning from San Diego in support of global maritime security operations, the U.S. Navy announced.
This voyage will be the first time a carrier strike group deploys with capabilities compatible with the Navy CMV-22B Osprey and F-35C Lighting II – the most advanced fighter jet on the planet.
The jet, which is stealthy and faster than the speed of sound, is replacing the military’s F/A 18s. The new addition has various sensors and systems that are capable of diagnosing and solving problems quickly.
“To be able to cue weapons and cue sensors with your helmet and have that displayed to you, it's a massive increase for situational awareness,” said Major Robert Ahern, a Marine Corps pilot.
The Carl Vinson returned to its homeport of Naval Air Station North Island last September, following 17 months of retrofitting at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at a cost of $367 million.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was docked in Bremerton, Washington, while undergoing a complete system retrofit to accommodate the F-35C Lightning II stealth fighters. Additional efforts while in Washington included upgrades to crew living spaces and maintenance on the ship's hull, rudders and shafts.
The USS Carl Vinson can carry more than 5,000 crew members and 65 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft; and has the speed, agility and maneuverability to travel more than 5,000 nautical miles in less than seven days.