First VMFA-314 F-35C Flies In Formation With VMFA-314 F/A-18A++ As Squadron Prepares To Retire Legacy Hornets

LEMOORE, California (June 5, 2019) The first Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 "Black Knights" F-35C aircraft from Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore flown by CAPT Tommy Beau Locke from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 "Rough Raiders" flies in formation over the Sierra's with the VFMA-314 squadron F/A-18A++, flown by LtCol Cedar Hinton aircraft "passing the lead" as part of the F/A-18 Sundown with the Black Knights. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell/Released)

The photo shooting was part of the F/A-18 Sundown with the Black Knights.

As already reported, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, is the first Marines squadron that will replace the “Legacy” Hornet with the brand new F-35C.

For this reason, the “Black Knights” have already started training alongside the U.S. Navy’s VFA-125, the F-35’s only Fleet Replacement Squadron, based at NAS Lemoore, California. The plan is to complete the preparation by next Spring; in the future, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 will conduct the second F-35C carrier deployment, after U.S. Navy’s VFA-147 that is planned to be the first to integrate the F-35C with the Carrier Air Wing 2, aboard the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson in 2021.

At least one F-35C already sports full VMFA-314 markings: CF-35/169601, modex VW-434 (a former VFA-125 modex, to be changed in the future with a U.S. Marines one), that also made a public appearance at Tinker AFB Air Show, on Jun. 1, 2019.

On Jun. 5, the same aircraft, flown by Captain Tommy Beau Locke from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 “Rough Raiders” flew in formation over the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges with the VFMA-314 squadron F/A-18A++ CAG bird, flown by Lieutanant Colonel Cedar Hinton aircraft “passing the lead” as part of the F/A-18 Sundown with the Black Knights.

Break! (All images: U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell/Released)

The images in this post, taken by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell are really amazing.

Another cool photo of the air-to-air photo shooting of the first VMFA-314 F-35C with the VMFA-314 CAG Hornet.
“Passing the lead”. VMFA-314 will be the first USMC unit flying the F-35C CATOBAR.



About David Cenciotti 3836 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.