The Navy Just Quietly Sent An F-35 Carrier To The Pacific — And It Signals A Major Change
The U.S. Navy broke with its tradition of hyping up F-35 deployments by sending of the USS Essex jump-jet carrier into the Western Pacific with a deck full of the revolutionary fighter jets — and it could signal a big change in how the U.S. deals with its toughest adversaries.
When the USS Wasp became the first small deck aircraft carrier to deploy with U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs, the media was in on it. But the Essex’s departure marks a change, as the Navy broke its usual protocol and only announced the deployment after the ship departed, the USNI News notes.
The Navy regularly deploys capital ships like small and big deck carriers for patrols around the world, but has only twice ever deployed ones like these.
The F-35 has become the most expensive weapons system in history and earned its share of criticism along the way as costs ballooned and deadlines fell through. The Marine Corp’s F-35B is designed to land vertically and take off from short runways, like an amphibious assault ship, and will replace the AV-8B Harrier in ground and air attack missions; the Navy’s F-35C has a tailhook to snag an arresting cable and land on an aircraft carrier.
Naturally, the U.S. military would keenly show off the jets, which they bill as a revolution in aerial combat due to their stealth design and advanced sensors and controls, but it seems they’ve opted to skip the public relations coup in exchange for something a bit more operational.
The Navy now actually wants to change the expectation of the media with regards to ship deployments to the Pacific, …read more
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