Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, has said the service branch expects its air carrier-based F-35C fighter jets to be operational in 2018 and plans to increase its number of onboard carriers in the next five years, DoD Buzz reported Wednesday.
“The most important thing that the F-35C brings is the ability to fuse information, collect the signals and things that are out in the environment and fuse it all together and deliver that picture to the rest of the carrier strike group,” Shoemaker told a Center for Strategic and International Studies event Wednesday.
According to Kris Osborn’s report, Shoemaker also discussed the military branch’s plans to boost the number of F/A-18 Super Hornets aboard future air carriers.
Shoemaker said updated MH-60R aircraft has a periscope detection tool, infrared radar and low-frequency sensor designed to make the aircraft work as the “inner defense zone against the submarine for the carrier strike group.”
The Navy is also considering a plan to its EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare planes with the EA-18G Growler aircraft in an effort to provide support for ground-based joint forces, Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker also detailed other plans for the future air wing to adopt an updated E-2D Hawkeye early warning aircraft, launch the Unmanned Carrier Launch Airborne Surveillance and Strike platform and replace the C-2 Greyhound cargo aircraft with the V-22 Osprey aircraft.