VMFA-314 can now operate independently from its new homebase at MCAS Miramar.
The first F-35C squadron of the United States Marine Corps, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, received on March 20, 2020 its Safe-For-Flight Operations Certification (SFFOC) at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar. VMFA-314 reached this milestone after working with the U.S. Navy’s F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, which helped the Marines with the transition from the F/A-18A++ Hornet to the new F-35C Lightning II.
#F35 Milestone ⚡ #ICYMI Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 received their Safe for Flight Operations Certification for the #F35C at @MCASMiramarCA last week! VMFA-314 is the first @USMC F-35C squadron – expanding the USMC’s 5th gen arsenal and combat capabilities. pic.twitter.com/nQtvhFSAQw
— F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (@theF35JPO) March 24, 2020
“The ‘Black Knights’ have met or exceeded every challenge faced during this transition, and I am extremely proud to be a part of this fantastic squadron. Today’s achievement marks a significant milestone and the beginning of a new chapter in our storied legacy. The F-35C advances our capability well into the next generation of fighter-attack aircraft and will keep our squadron, and our service, relevant for decades to come”, said Lt. Col. Cedar Hinton, Commanding Officer of VMFA-314.
The “Black Knights” trained alongside VFA-125 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Leemore from September 2019 to January 2020. The first F-35C returned at MCAS Miramar, home of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (under which falls the command of VMFA-314) on January 21, marking the arrival of the first F-35C to Fleet Marine Force. With the certification attained, the squadron can now fly and train without the supervision of the FRS. As noted if the official statement, “The SFFOC process ensures the squadron is manned with qualified personnel to implement maintenance and safety programs in support of fleet operations. All transitioning squadrons are required to complete this certification prior to independently conducting flight operations.”
The squadron will now continue to train in preparation for its first deployment at sea, which will be the second ever deployment of the F-35C. The first Lighting II deployment will be performed, as wrote also in previous articles, by the U.S. Navy in 2021 with the “Argonauts” of VFA-147 integrated into the Carrier Air Wing 2, aboard the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson.