Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

F-35B completes DT-III with Heavy Sea State & Weapons Focus

The two platforms (United States Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II and U.S. Navy USS America) represent a quantum leap in Marine aviation capability, particularly when considered in combination with the MV-22B Osprey, AH-1Z, UH-1Y and incoming CH-53K.

The fourth ship to carry the name, the USS America (LHA-6) serves as the flagship for a new class of amphibious assault ships that is built specifically to support “aerial assault.”  The LHA class utilizes the area on assault ships typically occupied by the “well deck” to provide additional hangar space, increased are for shipborne aviation maintenance, and additional aviation fuel and weapons stores.

It was fitting that the F-35B would complete its Development Testing (DT-III) on an advanced US Navy (USN) platform named “America.”

The two platforms [United States Marine Corps (USMC) F-35B Lightning II and USN USS America] represent a quantum leap in Marine aviation capability, particularly when considered in combination with the MV-22B Osprey, AH-1Z, UH-1Y and incoming CH-53K.

20161103-N-SS390-0xx PACIFIC OCEAN (NOV. 3, 2016) BF-1 GBU-12 External Weapons Uploading/BF-5 GBU-32 JDAM uploading Station 8 internal weapons bay.  F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft conducts test operations on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). The highly diverse cadre of Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots are embarked for the third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) of F-35B carrier suitability and integration. (Photo by Darin Russell/Released)

20161103-N-SS390-0xx PACIFIC OCEAN (NOV. 3, 2016) BF-1 GBU-12 External Weapons Uploading/BF-5 GBU-32 JDAM uploading Station 8 internal weapons bay. F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft conducts test operations on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). The highly diverse cadre of Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots are embarked for the third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) of F-35B carrier suitability and integration. (Photo by Darin Russell/Released)

Pilots, engineers, maintainers and personnel from VX-23 (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron) of NAS Patuxent River, MD flew across the country with their two heavily instrumented F-35Bs for the shipboard DT-III late October through Nov. 17, 2016.  They were joined by aircraft and personnel from VMX-1 (Marine Operational Test and Evaluation squadron) to support the maintenance phase of DT-III.  VMX-1 also participated in operational activity in preparation for the F-35Bs first shipborne deployment in about a year.

DT-III evaluated and validated the Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) performance of the F-35B in high sea states, with full weapons loads (external & internal), with asymmetric loading (including taking off with a full load of externals, jettisoning one side and landing), live weapons and night operations.  Onboard maintenance activities involved the entire replacement of an engine, driveshaft and lift fan on one of the VMX-1 aircraft.  After replacement, the VMX-1 aircraft was flown off the deck.

20161103-N-SS390-0xx PACIFIC OCEAN (NOV. 3, 2016) An F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft conducts test operations on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). The highly diverse cadre of Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots are embarked for the third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) of F-35B carrier suitability and integration. (Photo by Darin Russell/Released)

20161103-N-SS390-0xx PACIFIC OCEAN (NOV. 3, 2016) An F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft conducts test operations on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). The highly diverse cadre of Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots are embarked for the third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) of F-35B carrier suitability and integration. (Photo by Darin Russell/Released)

USMC VMX-1 Commanding Officer, Col. George “Sack” Rowell, noted that “the F-35B will equal or exceed the shipborne operational capabilities of the AV-8B Harrier in high sea states.  Flight operations took place in winds of up to 47 knots from various angles, a deck roll of 5° and deck pitch of 3°.  Maintenance work was accomplished (albeit with challenges) while the ship was rolling 9°!”

20161107-N-SS390-0xx PACIFIC OCEAN (NOV. 7, 2016) An F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft conducts test operations on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). BF-1, Flt 614, Mr. Peter Wilsonl & BF-5, Flt 263, Major Rob Guyette test high sea states.  The highly diverse cadre of Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots are embarked for the third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) of F-35B carrier suitability and integration. (Photo by Darin Russell/Released)

20161107-N-SS390-0xx PACIFIC OCEAN (NOV. 7, 2016) An F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft conducts test operations on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). BF-1, Flt 614, Mr. Peter Wilsonl & BF-5, Flt 263, Major Rob Guyette test high sea states. The highly diverse cadre of Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) technicians, maintainers, engineers, logisticians, support staff and test pilots are embarked for the third and final developmental test phase (DT-III) of F-35B carrier suitability and integration. (Photo by Darin Russell/Released)

DT-III was a great success achieving primary DT-III flight test points as well as numerous additional milestones for the F-35B;

  • Shipborne integration of Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) V.2
  • Engine, driveshaft and lift fan removal and replacement aboard a L-Class ship
  • Live ordnance operations with the F-35B aboard a ship (from ship to MCAS Yuma Range)
  • F-35B integration with USN AEGIS validated
  • Operational Test aircraft flew Block 3F software at-sea
  • 1st Royal Navy pilot F-35B carrier qualified
  • Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) utilized for shipborne landing
  • Use of night vision goggles (NVG) for landing
  • Link-16 Integration with a variety of aircraft

The success of the tests validates the Marine Corps experience with the aircraft to date.  USMC Lt. General Jon Davis, Deputy Commandant for Aviation Marine Corps captured that experience, “I’d deploy tomorrow. Tomorrow. The commanding officer (CO) of VFMA-211 is chomping at the bit, he would deploy them.  So would the CO of VFMA 121.  They are ready. These airplanes are highly capable and ready to go.

161104-N-VR008-0030 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 4, 2016) A Sailor directs F-35B Lightning II aircraft on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during flight operations. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. America, with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) embarked, are underway conducting operational testing and the third phase of developmental testing for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, respectively. The tests will evaluate the full spectrum of joint strike fighter measures of suitability and effectiveness in an at-sea environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Goldberg/Released)

161104-N-VR008-0030 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 4, 2016) A Sailor directs F-35B Lightning II aircraft on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during flight operations. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. America, with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) embarked, are underway conducting operational testing and the third phase of developmental testing for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, respectively. The tests will evaluate the full spectrum of joint strike fighter measures of suitability and effectiveness in an at-sea environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Goldberg/Released)

The potent USMC/USN amphibious assault platform of F-35Bs, MV-22Bs, AH-1Z, UH-1Y and in years to come CH-53K will soon be sailing the seas.  It is natural to recognize the platforms support of a broad spectrum of military operations and missions.  However, it is important not to overlook the role the assault carriers (LHD) platforms have historically played and will continue to play; keeping sea lanes free and open for movement of global commerce, and supporting delivery around the globe of humanitarian aid following natural disasters.

The ongoing success of the USMC introduction of the F-35B fleet speaks to a certain reality. In short order, the USS America (and companion ships) will be a message sending presence to some and a welcome friend to others!

161113-N-VR008-0097 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 13, 2016) Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) prepare to launch an F-35B Lightning II aircraft from the flight deck during flight operations. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. America, with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) embarked, are underway conducting operational testing and the third phase of developmental testing for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, respectively. The tests will evaluate the full spectrum of joint strike fighter measures of suitability and effectiveness in an at-sea environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Goldberg/Released)

161113-N-VR008-0097 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 13, 2016) Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) prepare to launch an F-35B Lightning II aircraft from the flight deck during flight operations. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. America, with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) embarked, are underway conducting operational testing and the third phase of developmental testing for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, respectively. The tests will evaluate the full spectrum of joint strike fighter measures of suitability and effectiveness in an at-sea environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Goldberg/Released)

The Aviationist thanks Sylvia Pierson, and Brandi Schiff, JSF/JPO PA;  Capt. Sarah Burns & 1st Lt. Maida Zheng, USMC PAOs;  Captain Joseph R. Olson, Commanding Officer of the USS America and entire crew;  Lt. General Jon M. Davis, USMC Deputy Commandant for Aviation; and USMC VMX-1 Commanding Officer, Col. George “Sack” Rowell.

DT-III was followed by a Proof of Concept at sea. Read the full story here.

 

“Mysterious” plane circling over Denver was “just” an E-6B Mercury “doomsday” plane

Photos and video of a “mysterious” plane circling over Denver are making the rounds. But the aircraft was “just” a U.S. Navy Doomsday plane.

On Nov. 16 people in the Denver metropolitan area saw a white, four-engined aircraft performing a racetrack for several times over Colorado before heading to Oklahoma. The aircraft could be tracked online on Flightradar24 by means of ADS-B using callsign Iron 99.

mystery_plane_circles-fr24

mystery_plane_circles-fr24-over-denver

Even though some media outlets published some funny articles with headlines referring to a “mystery flight” or a “mysterious plane” there is really little mystery around that aircraft: it was an E-6B Mercury.

The use of “Iron 99” is also pretty standard: Iron is one of the radio callsigns of the VQ-3 “Ironmen”, a naval aviation squadron of the United States Navy based at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma (incidentally, where the aircraft headed after orbiting over Denver….)

Built on the Boeing 707 airframe and using a B737 cockpit, the E-6B aircraft has a range of 5,500 miles, and accommodates 23 crew members.

e-6b_mercury_flies_over_solomons_island_in_november_2014

The U.S. Navy has a total fleet of sixteen E-6B Mercury (TACAMO – “TAke Charge And Move Out”) that play an extremely important role for U.S. National Security: they are used to relay instructions to the fleet ballistic missile submarines in case of nuclear war but also act as back ups of the four E-4Bs NAOC (National Alternate Operations Center), working as ABNCP (Airborne Command Post) platforms (hence “Doomsday Plane“).

They are often trackable online, while performing various critical missions: the so-called Looking Glass mission (mirroring the ground-based C3 center at Offutt AFB and relaying orders); talking to submarines trailing a 26,000 ft wire antenna; launching commands to ICBMs (InterContinental Ballistic Missiles) via Airborne Launch Control System, and performing C3 (Command Control Communication) operations to forces operating in theater or to the U.S. strategic bombers flying Global Strike missions.

The Mercury is capable to communicate on virtually every radio frequency band, on commercial satellites and on the Internet, using also a secure VOIP system. This aircraft usually operates flying orbits/circles while trailing their antennas or to exploit a particular geostationary satellite for radio comms.

Noteworthy, on Aug. 27, the E-6B 163918 used the very same callsign Iron 99.

Screenshot from Global ADSB Exchange showing E-6B using callsign Iron 99 on Aug. 27, 2016

Screenshot from Global ADSB Exchange showing E-6B using callsign Iron 99 on Aug. 27, 2016

Interestingly, on Mar. 8, 2016 an E-6B 162784 used the callsign “Trump” for the first time.

Top image credit: screenshot from ABC. Rest of images: screenshots from Flightradar24.com

 

Rhino Ball 2016 is the best compilation of Hornet videos from last year

Amazing footage shows U.S. Hornets at work everywhere, from every point of view. Enjoy!!

You probably know Hornet Ball, the compilation of cool videos produced by LT Joseph “C-Rock” Stephens, an Instructor WSO with the VFA-122 Flying Eagles, and made of clips from most of the squadrons based at NAS Lemoore as well as the 4 forward deployed squadrons in Japan.

Well, this year’s edition has been dubbed “Rhino Ball.”

“The 2016 Rhino Ball video is finally here! From November 1999 through 2015 NAS Lemoore has hosted a mixture of legacy F/A-18A-D Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, otherwise known as “Rhinos.” Beginning in 2017, the new F-35 Lightning II will also join the presence in central California.

That makes 2016 our Year of the Rhino. Goodbye Hornet Ball and warm feelings to future Strike Fighter Balls, but this year…this year we have the one and only Rhino Ball, with the only official Rhino Ball Video ever made,” says “C-Rock” in the YT video comment.

rhino-ball-2016

Through the eye of HD GoPro cameras, the awesome 17-min video brings you aboard West coast F/A-18C Legacy Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet during flight deck operations, trap landings in  very bad weather or at night, live firing of AIM-9 and AIM-7 air-to-air missiles, JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions), low-level flying in the mountains and through the famous Jedi Transition, ATFLIR  (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared) pod clips taken while flying missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Here are Hornet Ball 2015, Hornet Ball 2014 and Hornet Ball 2013.

 

Air War on ISIS: coalition aircraft refuel from US KC-135 over Iraq

Take a look at the most beautiful photographs shot from inside U.S. Air Force KC-135s during recent aerial refueling missions over Iraq.

50-year old KC-135 Stratotankers are acting as “force multipliers” over Iraq, refueling coalition aircraft flying in support of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS.

The following shots were taken during different missions flown by the aerial refuelers of the 340th EARS (Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron), a provisional U.S. Air Force units, equipped with several KC-135R/T tankers and based at Al Udeid, Qatar.

As you can see, U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Hornets, U.S. Air Force C-17s, F-15E Strike Eagles and E-3A Sentry, as well as French Air Force Rafales were refueled during their combat missions in the last few weeks.

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fly in formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fly in formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fly in formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fly in formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fly in formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fly in formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A French Air Force Rafale approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A French Air Force Rafale approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A French Air Force Rafale approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A French Air Force Rafale approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A French Air Force Rafale receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A French Air Force Rafale receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 17, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A pilot from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepares to take off in a KC-135 Stratotanker in support of an Operation Inherent Resolve mission over Iraq Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A pilot from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepares to take off in a KC-135 Stratotanker in support of an Operation Inherent Resolve mission over Iraq Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A pilot from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepares to take off in a KC-135 Stratotanker in support of an Operation Inherent Resolve mission over Iraq Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A pilot from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepares to take off in a KC-135 Stratotanker in support of an Operation Inherent Resolve mission over Iraq Oct 6, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator, awaits his receivers for fuel over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator, awaits his receivers for fuel over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet flies off the wing of a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq after refuel Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet flies off the wing of a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq after refuel Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker refueling drogue over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker refueling drogue over Iraq Sept. 28, 2016. Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron refueled U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets over Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The U.S. and more than 60 coalition partners work together to eliminate Daesh and the threat they pose to Iraq and Syria.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)

A C-17 Globemaster III approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker while performing a refueling sortie over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A C-17 Globemaster III approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker while performing a refueling sortie over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A C-17 Globemaster III approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker before performing a refueling mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A C-17 Globemaster III approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker before performing a refueling mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a refueling mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 16, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a refueling mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 16, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A boom operator from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepares to refuel an E-3 Sentry while flying in a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A boom operator from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepares to refuel an E-3 Sentry while flying in a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Crewmembers from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepare to take off in a KC-135 Stratotanker before performing a refueling mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Crewmembers from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron prepare to take off in a KC-135 Stratotanker before performing a refueling mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve September 15, 2016. The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

 

Take a look at these fantastic photographs of USN aircraft flying over USS Zumwalt advanced guided-missile destroyer

MQ-4C, E-2C, C-2A, P-8A, F-35 and SH-60R flew over USS Zumwalt in Chesapeake

USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, on Oct. 15 during the city’s Fleet Week festivities.

First ship of a new class of stealthy multi-mission destroyers (worth $4.4 billion apiece), the futuristic Zumwalt features an advanced power system capable to generate 78 megawatts of power and has the ability to launch TLAMs (Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles) and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (like those used in Yemen recently), as well as a wide array of other anti-ship and anti-submarine weaponry.

Several aircraft flew over the advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyer as it travelled to its new home port of Sand Diego.

In this post you can find the most interesting photos.

The top one (courtesy of Naval Air Systems Command) is particularly cool. It shows a Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton overflying USS Zumwalt.

U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C “Triton” Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), is an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform under development that will complement the P-8A Poseidon within the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems.

The MQ-4C is a much advanced version than the first generation Global Hawk Block 10: it is believed to be a sort of Block 20 and Block 30 Global Hawk hybrid, carrying Navy payload.

With a 130.9-foot wingspan, the drone features an AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active-sensor (MFAS) radar system, that gives the Triton the ability to cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission that can last as long as 24 hours at a time, at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles.

A test proved the gigantic Navy drone’s ability to pass FMV (Full Motion Video) to a Poseidon MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) last June.

The U.S. Navy plans to procure 68 aircraft and 2 prototypes.  The program received Milestone C low-rate initial production approval after a successful Milestone Decision Authority review at the end of September 2016.

161017-N-UZ648-029 CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An E-2D Hawkeye and a C-2A Greyhound assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 fly over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

161017-N-UZ648-029
CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An E-2C Hawkeye and a C-2A Greyhound assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 fly over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

 

161017-N-UZ648-054 CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 flies over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

161017-N-UZ648-054
CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 flies over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt/Released)

 

161017-N-CE233-334 CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An SH-60R assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 flies near USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy's newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Liz Wolter/Released)

161017-N-CE233-334
CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. (Oct. 17, 2016) An SH-60R assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 flies near USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California. Zumwalt was commissioned in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 15 and is the first in a three-ship class of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced multi-mission guided-missile destroyers. (U.S. Navy photo by Liz Wolter/Released)

 

An F-35 Lightning II Carrier Variant (CV) piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Robert "Champ" Guyette II, a test pilot from the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies over the stealth guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship transits the Chesapeake Bay on Oct. 17, 2016. USS Zumwalt, the Navy's newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, joined the fleet Oct. 15. The F-35C Lightning II — a next generation single-seat, single-engine strike fighter that incorporates stealth technologies, defensive avionics, internal and external weapons, and a revolutionary sensor fusion capability — is designed as the U.S. Navy’s first-day-of-war, survivable strike fighter. The U.S. Navy anticipates declaring the F-35C combat-ready in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)

An F-35 Lightning II Carrier Variant (CV) piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Robert “Champ” Guyette II, a test pilot from the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, flies over the stealth guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) as the ship transits the Chesapeake Bay on Oct. 17, 2016. USS Zumwalt, the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced surface ship, joined the fleet Oct. 15. The F-35C Lightning II — a next generation single-seat, single-engine strike fighter that incorporates stealth technologies, defensive avionics, internal and external weapons, and a revolutionary sensor fusion capability — is designed as the U.S. Navy’s first-day-of-war, survivable strike fighter. The U.S. Navy anticipates declaring the F-35C combat-ready in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)

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