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Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Completes Historic Deployment: Welcome home!

By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

Earlier this year, Secretary of Defense James Mattis introduced a new concept called Dynamic Force Employment, which makes our naval force more agile and operationally unpredictable to our long-term strategic adversaries. As we enter a new era of great power competition, this strategy is radically reshaping the standard carrier strike group deployment as we have come to know it.

In April, just months after Dynamic Force Employment was introduced, the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group made history by being the first to demonstrate the strategy’s potential for keeping our Navy one step ahead of our adversaries. When the carrier strike group “unexpectedly” returned to Norfolk for a “working port visit” – just three months into their deployment, it truly was a game changer for naval operations.

NORWEGIAN SEA (Oct. 19, 2018) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Accompanied by select ships from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, Harry S. Truman traveled north to demonstrate the flexibility and toughness of U.S. naval forces through high-end warfare training with regional allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)
NORWEGIAN SEA (Oct. 19, 2018) An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Accompanied by select ships from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, Harry S. Truman traveled north to demonstrate the flexibility and toughness of U.S. naval forces through high-end warfare training with regional allies and partners. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)

 

Between their unannounced return to homeport and operations in the North Atlantic waters, where a U.S. Navy carrier strike group hasn’t operated since the early 1990s, the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group performed flawlessly. This underway time also played an integral part in building multinational partnerships. The carrier strike group participated in Trident Juncture, the largest NATO naval exercise since the Cold War, as well as Baltic Exercises in the Adriatic Sea and Exercise Lightning Handshake with our Moroccan partners.

For more than 70 years, aircraft carriers and their embarked aircraft have provided the U.S. Navy with unmatched maritime combat power. USS Harry S. Truman and its crew demonstrated this capability by launching 12,215 sorties, with 210 being combat sorties in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. By the end of the deployment, our aviators logged an impressive 26,077 flight hours.

All in all, the carrier strike group spent 229 days underway, sailed 72,820 nautical miles, conducted four port visits with key allies furthering our international partnerships and safely completed 28 replenishments-at-sea. As commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, I couldn’t be prouder of the Sailors of USS Harry S. Truman and the aviators, aircrewmen and maintainers of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) One for their hard work and dedicated service to our Navy and our Nation.

This deployment is yet another prime example of the pivotal role naval aviation plays in our national defense. Bravo Zulu and job well done.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 7, 2018) Sailors signal an F/A-18 Super Hornet ready for launch during flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, Harry S. Truman continued to foster cooperation with regional allies and partners, strengthen regional stability, and remain vigilant, agile and dynamic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 7, 2018) Sailors signal an F/A-18 Super Hornet ready for launch during flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, Harry S. Truman continued to foster cooperation with regional allies and partners, strengthen regional stability, and remain vigilant, agile and dynamic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann/Released)

 

NORFOLK, Va. (Dec. 16, 2018) Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Easter kisses his wife on the pier during the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) homecoming. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)
NORFOLK, Va. (Dec. 16, 2018) Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Wyatt Easter kisses his wife on the pier during the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) homecoming. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maria G. Llanos/Released)

Lastly, I want to take time to recognize the families of our Sailors for their resilience and support. Our family members are an integral part of the Navy team and a vital contributor to mission success. Throughout the deployment, they remained strong, united and fully embraced their role and responsibilities as members of the team. Our success is your success. Thank you for your love, devotion to your Sailors and dedicated support.

Welcome home!

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/12/16/harry-s-truman-carrier-strike-group-completes-historic-deployment-welcome-home/ U.S. Navy

USS Harry S. Truman CSG: COMPTUEX Success!

By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

I would like to take this time to extend a hearty “Bravo Zulu” to the Sailors of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG 8) for their completion of the ever-rigorous Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). Your successful completion of this joint exercise showcases your sustained durability, tactical expertise and dedication to the mission. Truly, you have shown the Navy, and the world, that your ships and air wing are fully capable of protecting our nation as a deployment-ready fighting force.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 16, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and ships assigned to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) transit the Atlantic Ocean while conducting composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). Truman was underway for COMPTUEX, which evaluates the strike group's ability as a whole to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea, ultimately certifying the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group for deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 16, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and ships assigned to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) transit the Atlantic Ocean while conducting composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). Truman was underway for COMPTUEX, which evaluates the strike group’s ability as a whole to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea, ultimately certifying the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group for deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford/Released)

 

It took all hands from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 to make this evolution a success. Additionally, those serving aboard the guided missile cruiser and seven guided-missile destroyers that complete the CSG should also be commended. With the addition of ships from Norway and Germany, this COMPTUEX offered an extra level of realism and provided a visible demonstration of our partnerships and interoperability with these key allies. Throughout the exercise, CSG-8 showcased its ability to provide proven warfighting capabilities through a variety of simulated events. These events tested all units across every core warfare area including air warfare, strait transits, as well as responses to surface and subsurface contacts and electronic attacks.

The accomplishments you have made during this time are a testament to the commitment you have in defending our great nation and providing the strength and support of the U.S. Navy wherever and whenever it is needed. Congratulations on a job well done.

Bravo Zulu!

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 16, 2018) From the left, Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen (F 311), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and USS Gravely (DDG 107) transit the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) while conducting its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 16, 2018) From the left, Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen (F 311), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and USS Gravely (DDG 107) transit the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) while conducting its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Flynn/Released)

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/03/01/uss-harry-s-truman-csg-comptuex-success/ U.S. Navy

F-35C Integration into the Fleet

By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Director, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office

As the first director for the Navy’s F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Fleet Integration Office, I have enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of bringing fifth-generation strike-fighter capabilities to the fleet. As this highly advanced weapons system matures, I am convinced the F-35C will be a cornerstone platform that plays a crucial role in mission success for Carrier Air Wings (CVW), Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and numbered fleets. The F-35C will be a game-changer for the Navy.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies above the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35C is expected to be fleet operational in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies above the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Wyatt L. Anthony)

The F-35C Lightning II will introduce next generation strike-fighter aircraft capabilities to the Navy CVW , enabling the CSG and numbered fleets to effectively engage and survive a wide range of rapidly evolving threats, both air and surface, in contested airspace.

The unique capabilities of the F-35C, coupled with the proven capabilities and capacity of current United States Navy fighter aircraft, significantly enhance a CSG’s battle space awareness, lethality and survivability. In supporting a principle Department of Defense investment objective of balancing modernization and readiness, the Navy remains committed to selecting the right procurement ramp for F-35C to balance strike-fighter inventory management with the cost and time required to field advanced capabilities. The Navy will maintain and sustain much of its current force in order to guarantee mission success against the threats of today, as well as the high-end threats of the future.

Near-peer adversaries are advancing technologically and economically, resulting in proliferation of highly capable Integrated Air Defense Systems, high performance aircraft and information operations to include:

  • Long-range air surveillance radars and airborne early warning aircraft
  • Long-range surface-to-air missiles
  • Highly maneuverable, low observable adversary aircraft
  • Jamming and anti-jamming operations against communication, radar and Global Positioning System satellites

Left unchecked, this threat proliferation will constrain the CSG’s ability to project power. As technologies continue to advance, the future air wing will continue to adapt as it always has, particularly to increase its capacity to contribute to the sea control mission, conducting both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. The F-35C will be the CSG’s first choice to penetrate and operate in these contested environments, providing a day-one strike capability. Integrated with other fleet assets, the F-35C’s tactical agility and strategic flexibility are critical to maintain a long-term decisive tactical advantage.

F-35C Lightning II carrier variants, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepare to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alora R. Blosch)
F-35C Lightning II carrier variants, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepare to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alora R. Blosch)

While the day one capability provided allows the F-35C to perform at the “tip of the spear,” its interoperability within the CVW and unique ability to support and augment already fielded legacy platforms is essential to sustaining the Navy’s combat lethality now and in the future. In the near term, legacy aircraft will continue to comprise the majority of the CVW. The CVW’s  inherent integrated capability design will enable the distribution of information collected by F-35Cs to enhance the effectiveness and survivability of all sea, air and land platforms throughout the battle space. The mix of both legacy and next generation aircraft operating from carrier flight decks provides the necessary complementary capability and capacity to pace the rapidly evolving threat…a formula which guarantees the CVW of the future remains lethal, survivable and able to accomplish the full spectrum of CSG and numbered fleet mission sets while providing an effective and affordable balance across the strike fighter inventory.

Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)

The Navy expects to deploy the first operational F-35C squadron in 2021. Underpinning this deployment is the service declaration of Initial Operating Capability, which is based on providing a validated and verified combat capable aircraft prior to first deployment. The means to validate that capability is the successful demonstration of operational test in the 3F software configuration. The 3F configured F-35C provides warfighting capability to accomplish primary Navy missions to include: Attack, Close Air Support and Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense as well as Offensive and Defensive Counter Air.

Follow on modernization capabilities planned for the F-35C program will ensure that a CSG is able to consistently meet and defeat expected advanced threats now and well into the future. Follow on modernization will be implemented in order to continue to advance F-35C capability and improve lethality and survivability across all mission sets and enable operations in areas of increasingly sophisticated threats, leveraging intelligence assessment of the future battlespace.

For the CVW of the future to out-pace the rapidly evolving threat, it is critically important to ensure that F-35C capabilities are integrated and interoperable with existing ships and aircraft within the CSG and the numbered fleets.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Daniel Booth, from Manchester, New Hampshire, directs an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clemente A. Lynch)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 20, 2016) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Daniel Booth, from Manchester, New Hampshire, directs an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Clemente A. Lynch)

Weapons integration, radar improvements, electronic warfare capabilities, interoperability, and real-time information sharing must continue to progress in order to guarantee mission success in the future high-end threat environment. The full integration of these capabilities within the CSG / CVW  team, combined with the F-35C’s ability to distribute this information across multiple platforms within the numbered fleets, is the cornerstone of how the future Navy will fight and win.

Recognizing Naval Aviation’s capability of today and the need for increased capability tomorrow, the Navy remains committed to pursuing the right procurement ramp for F-35C to balance inventory management, affordability and force modernization. A detailed asset allocation study determined that the most efficient and effective composition of strike fighters for the future CVW  is two squadrons of F-35C and two of F/A-18E/F. With 10 CVWs , the Navy’s objective is to attain 20 F-35C squadrons, two per CVW  by the early-2030s.  This strategy calls for the continued procurement of low rate initial production aircraft and the enhanced capabilities of Block 3F software, and eventually Block 4’s advanced capabilities. The Navy’s plan for full rate production optimizes the force for the introduction of next generation capabilities to the Navy in the near term, while allowing the fleet to build the community and work integration solutions.

A Navy CSG requires the speed, endurance, flexibility and ability to operate in hostile environments autonomously.

Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore.
LEMOORE, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2017) Four F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighters fly in formation over Naval Air Station Lemoore. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Eshleman/Released)

The F-35C’s stealth characteristics, long-range combat identification and ability to penetrate threat envelopes, while fusing multiple information sources into a coherent picture, will enhance the role that the CSG and numbered fleets must play in support of our national interests. Ultimately, with the F-35C integrated and interoperable with the CVW, the CSG of the future will continue to be lethal, survivable and able to accomplish the entire spectrum of mission sets to include day one response to high end threats. The Navy remains dedicated to a capability focused approach as we evolve the CVW  and the CSG. The F-35C’s capability will provide decision superiority to the nation’s warfighters to ensure that if deterrence fails, the United States can conduct decisive combat operations to defeat any adversary.

I look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when Lightning II is a common participant in training and deployed operations for the Navy. The F-35C will undoubtedly play a critical role in the integrated maritime force that we will depend on to execute Navy’s mission for decades to come.

Check out the F-35C in action below!

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/08/03/f-35c-integration-into-the-fleet/ U.S. Navy