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It’s Aircraft Carrier Month! USS Ford Takes the Stage

US Navy Celebrates Aircraft Carrier Month in November

Today kicks off National Aircraft Carrier month here in the US! It’s a month-long celebration of these behemoth ships. The US Navy is by far the world’s largest operator aircraft carriers, so there will be plenty to see!

We’ll start it off with some stunning footage of the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) undergoing high speed turn tests for the first time earlier this week. Your jaw might drop from the size of these ships, but just wait until you see how maneuverable they are!

Get ready to strap down the flight deck – it’s about to get a little rough.

While the Ford project has had some serious delays and cost overruns, this is still a very gratifying test to see completed successfully. Finally she’s out on the seas, and showing what she’s capable of!

More Carriers All Month Long

Remember today is just the start of Aircraft Carrier Month! We have some pretty incredible content lined up that we’re very excited to show. Keep checking back often.

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Why is the F-35 a Game Changer in the Pacific?

The F-35 is the one of the most well known, and expensive, defense projects in human history. With new capabilities just now hitting the battlefield, the full implications of its deployment are still be realized on the world stage. With Western air superiority established in much of the Middle East area of operations, the Pacific region stands to be impacted more by the F-35’s arrival to the scene.

Even more intimidating is that same carrier stocked up with fifth-generation US stealth fighters

An F-35B Lightning II assigned to the “Flying Leathernecks” of Marine Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 122 lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). America is currently underway conducting routine operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vance Hand/Released)

Japan has been flying the F-35, right next to China, since early 2018. And just last month, the F-35 was officially welcomed into the South Korean Air Force. In the space of 24 months, the US and two of its allies deployed the stealthiest, and one of the most capable, fighter jets in the world, right in China’s back yard. Additionally the US Marines now operate the F-35 aboard amphibious assault aircraft carriers criss-crossing the South China Sea, pushing back against China’s advances and increasing territorial claims.

Two U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), standby on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during routine training in the Eastern Pacific, Sept. 28, 2019. 3rd MAW is capable of conducting missions across the range of military operations and continues to promote the defense of our nation and its interests. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan Anaya)

As deliveries to allies continue to ramp up, along with the delivery of the Navy’s variant, the F-35C, pressure on China is only likely to continue increasing. When the F-35C is fully operational with the Navy, the US will also be able to employ its fleet of nuclear-powered Super Carriers to push US stealth fighters right where they need to be.

A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), prepares to land on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during routine training in the Eastern Pacific, Sept. 28, 2019. 3rd MAW is capable of conducting missions across the range of military operations and continues to promote the defense of our nation and its interests. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan Anaya)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 30, 2019) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Sabrina Bales, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6, signals an F-35B Lightning II assigned to the Flying Leathernecks of Marine Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 122 to take off from the ship’s flight deck. America is currently underway conducting routine operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vance Hand/Released)

A fully crewed Nimitz-class Super Carrier is an awesome and frightening sight to behold by adversarial nations. The only thing even more intimidating is that same carrier stocked up with fifth-generation US stealth fighters instead of their old Super Hornets. Much of the world’s attention is expected to continue looking towards the Indo-Pacific. The F-35’s arrival on the scene, only sure to continue increasing, will change the game in the Pacific region.

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Need for Speed: A close look at the Art of the Afterburner

What’s faster than a jet engine?

Turbine engines are notoriously capable of achieving incredible speeds. But shortly after their initial development, a novel idea was born… Dump raw jet fuel straight into the exhaust of a jet engine.

A phenomenal mixture of combusting fuel and hot gasses roaring out the back of the engine…

CORAL SEA (July 16, 2019) An EA-18G Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from the flight deck aboard the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan is participating in Talisman Sabre 2019, which illustrates the closeness of the Australian and U.S. alliance and the strength of the military-to-military relationship. It is the eighth iteration of this exercise. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Janweb B. Lagazo)

Rather than fueling the engine once, when the incoming air is at its most compressed, engines fitted with afterburners also known as “reheat,” inject fuel twice. The result is a phenomenal mixture of combusting fuel and hot gasses roaring out the back of the engine, thrusting it and everything to it forward with incredible energy.

An F-15E Strike Eagle rockets out of RAF Lakenheath on a mission over Europe.

Recon drones and commercial aircraft generally don’t require the acceleration provided by afterburners

Future of Afterburners

While some rapidly advancing areas of aviation, especially drone and eco-friendly initiatives, are making great strides with the need for afterburners, they are solidly here to stay. Recon drones and commercial aircraft generally don’t require the acceleration provided by afterburners, but it is absolutely essential for modern fighter jets.

Pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings taxi F-35As on the runway in preparation for a combat power exercise Nov. 19, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise wings confirmed their ability to employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, demonstrating the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)
F-35s lined up for a Show of Force exercise, testing ability of aircrews to assemble and support a large rapid response force.

The F-35 Lightning II, the latest fighter jet to join the US Military inventory, is equipped with an afterburning engine capable of producing 43,000 lbf of thrust.

More Beautiful Afterburners

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F-35 & F-18 Formation Over Arabian Sea

Two F-35B Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, left, an F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to VFA 41, fly in formation over the Arabian Sea, Dec. 14, 2018. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, Essex Amphibious Ready Group, and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are conducting integrated operations in the Arabian Sea to ensure stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin)
Two F-35B Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, left, an F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to VFA 41, fly in formation over the Arabian Sea, Dec. 14, 2018. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, Essex Amphibious Ready Group, and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are conducting integrated operations in the Arabian Sea to ensure stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin)

Two F-35B Lightning II, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, left, an F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to VFA 41, fly in formation over the Arabian Sea, Dec. 14, 2018. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, Essex Amphibious Ready Group, and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are conducting integrated operations in the Arabian Sea to ensure stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin)

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Bush 41 Procession to Washington DC

U.S. service members with the Ceremonial Honor Guard carry the casket of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Dec. 03, 2018. Military and civilian personnel assigned to Joint Task Force- National Capital Region provided ceremonial and civil affairs support during President George H.W. Bush's state funeral. (DoD Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Caeli Morris)

U.S. service members with the Ceremonial Honor Guard carry the casket of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Dec. 03, 2018. Military and civilian personnel assigned to Joint Task Force- National Capital Region provided ceremonial and civil affairs support during President George H.W. Bush's state funeral. (DoD Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Caeli Morris)

U.S. service members with the Ceremonial Honor Guard carry the casket of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Dec. 03, 2018. Military and civilian personnel assigned to Joint Task Force- National Capital Region provided ceremonial and civil affairs support during President George H.W. Bush’s state funeral. (DoD Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Caeli Morris)

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President Bush Visiting Troops During Desert Storm – 1990

President George Bush speaks to U.S. Military personnel gathered for his Thanksgiving holiday visit during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Nov. 22, 1990. (U.S. Navy photo by JO3 Gerald Johnson/Released)

President George Bush speaks to U.S. Military personnel gathered for his Thanksgiving holiday visit during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Nov. 22, 1990. (U.S. Navy photo by JO3 Gerald Johnson/Released)

President George Bush speaks to U.S. Military personnel gathered for his Thanksgiving holiday visit during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Nov. 22, 1990. (U.S. Navy photo by JO3 Gerald Johnson/Released)

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Transfer of Remains from Battle at Tarawa, WWII

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) personnel prepare to lower a transfer case containing possible remains of unidentified U.S. service members from the Battle at Tarawa from a C-20G Gulfstream IV aircraft during an honorable carry, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Nov. 20, 2018. The contents of the transfer case will be examined by forensic anthropologists and forensic odontologists at the DPAA skeletal identification laboratory. DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kelly L. Timney)

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) personnel prepare to lower a transfer case containing possible remains of unidentified U.S. service members from the Battle at Tarawa from a C-20G Gulfstream IV aircraft during an honorable carry, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Nov. 20, 2018. The contents of the transfer case will be examined by forensic anthropologists and forensic odontologists at the DPAA skeletal identification laboratory. DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kelly L. Timney)

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) personnel prepare to lower a transfer case containing possible remains of unidentified U.S. service members from the Battle at Tarawa from a C-20G Gulfstream IV aircraft during an honorable carry, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Nov. 20, 2018. The contents of the transfer case will be examined by forensic anthropologists and forensic odontologists at the DPAA skeletal identification laboratory. DPAA’s mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kelly L. Timney)

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Coast Guard Protecting Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrew prepares to take off to conduct a night flight from the forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2018. Aircrews are forward deployed to Kotzebue in in support of Arctic Shield to be more geographically available to respond to search and rescue cases. U. S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bradley Pigage.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrew prepares to take off to conduct a night flight from the forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2018. Aircrews are forward deployed to Kotzebue in in support of Arctic Shield to be more geographically available to respond to search and rescue cases. U. S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bradley Pigage.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrew prepares to take off to conduct a night flight from the forward operating location in Kotzebue, Alaska, Oct. 28, 2018. Aircrews are forward deployed to Kotzebue in in support of Arctic Shield to be more geographically available to respond to search and rescue cases. U. S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bradley Pigage.

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F-35B Vertical Landing

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, both F-35 Pax River ITF test pilots, conduct ski jumps and field carrier landing practices with F-35Bs on Aug. 28, 2018, at NAS Patuxent River as part of the workups for the First of Class Flight Trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Around 200 supporting staff from the ITF, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts, will take two F-35Bs test aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth this fall to evaluate the fifth-generation aircraft performance and integration with Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. This fixed wing test period brings the U.K. one step closer to carrier strike capabilities.

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, both F-35 Pax River ITF test pilots, conduct ski jumps and field carrier landing practices with F-35Bs on Aug. 28, 2018, at NAS Patuxent River as part of the workups for the First of Class Flight Trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.  Around 200 supporting staff from the ITF, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts, will take two F-35Bs test aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth this fall to evaluate the fifth-generation aircraft performance and integration with Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. This fixed wing test period brings the U.K. one step closer to carrier strike capabilities.

 

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, both F-35 Pax River ITF test pilots, conduct ski jumps and field carrier landing practices with F-35Bs on Aug. 28, 2018, at NAS Patuxent River as part of the workups for the First of Class Flight Trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Around 200 supporting staff from the ITF, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts, will take two F-35Bs test aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth this fall to evaluate the fifth-generation aircraft performance and integration with Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. This fixed wing test period brings the U.K. one step closer to carrier strike capabilities.

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Coast Guard C-130s Prepare for Hurricane Michael

Coast Guard crew members from Air Station Clearwater, Florida, prepare aircraft for deployment in preparation for post Hurricane Michael response efforts Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. After the storm passes Coast Guard crews will surge to assist people in affected areas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Ryan Stille)

Coast Guard crew members from Air Station Clearwater, Florida, prepare aircraft for deployment in preparation for post Hurricane Michael response efforts Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. After the storm passes Coast Guard crews will surge to assist people in affected areas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Ryan Stille)

Coast Guard crew members from Air Station Clearwater, Florida, prepare aircraft for deployment in preparation for post Hurricane Michael response efforts Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. After the storm passes Coast Guard crews will surge to assist people in affected areas. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Ryan Stille)

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Full Afterburner F-18 Super Hornet Engine Test USS Washington

Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Christopher Cogar from Cleveland inspects a F-414 jet engine's afterburners during an engine test on the fantail aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Sailors working in George Washington's jet shop maintain, repair and test damaged jet engines. George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Pittman/Released)

Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Christopher Cogar from Cleveland inspects a F-414 jet engine's afterburners during an engine test on the fantail aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Sailors working in George Washington's jet shop maintain, repair and test damaged jet engines. George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Pittman/Released)

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Christopher Cogar from Cleveland inspects a F-414 jet engine’s afterburners during an engine test on the fantail aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Sailors working in George Washington’s jet shop maintain, repair and test damaged jet engines. George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Pittman/Released)

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F-35B Ski-Jump Takeoff Close-Up

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, both F-35 Pax River ITF test pilots, conduct ski jumps and field carrier landing practices with F-35Bs on Aug. 28, 2018, at NAS Patuxent River as part of the workups for the First of Class Flight Trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Around 200 supporting staff from the ITF, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts, will take two F-35Bs test aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth this fall to evaluate the fifth-generation aircraft performance and integration with Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. This fixed wing test period brings the U.K. one step closer to carrier strike capabilities.

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, both F-35 Pax River ITF test pilots, conduct ski jumps and field carrier landing practices with F-35Bs on Aug. 28, 2018, at NAS Patuxent River as part of the workups for the First of Class Flight Trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. Around 200 supporting staff from the ITF, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts, will take two F-35Bs test aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth this fall to evaluate the fifth-generation aircraft performance and integration with Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. This fixed wing test period brings the U.K. one step closer to carrier strike capabilities.

Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Lippert, both F-35 Pax River ITF test pilots, conduct ski jumps and field carrier landing practices with F-35Bs on Aug. 28, 2018, at NAS Patuxent River as part of the workups for the First of Class Flight Trials aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Around 200 supporting staff from the ITF, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts, will take two F-35Bs test aircraft aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth this fall to evaluate the fifth-generation aircraft performance and integration with Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. This fixed wing test period brings the U.K. one step closer to carrier strike capabilities.

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F-18 Afterburners At RIAT 2018

A pilot from the Swiss Air Force demonstrates the flight capabilities of a F/A-18C Hornet during the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, United Kingdom on July 13, 2018. This year’s RIAT celebrated the 100th anniversary of the RAF and highlighted the United States’ ever-strong alliance with the UK. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Brian Kimball)

A pilot from the Swiss Air Force demonstrates the flight capabilities of a F/A-18C Hornet during the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, United Kingdom on July 13, 2018. This year’s RIAT celebrated the 100th anniversary of the RAF and highlighted the United States’ ever-strong alliance with the UK. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Brian Kimball)

A pilot from the Swiss Air Force demonstrates the flight capabilities of a F/A-18C Hornet during the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, United Kingdom on July 13, 2018. This year’s RIAT celebrated the 100th anniversary of the RAF and highlighted the United States’ ever-strong alliance with the UK. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Brian Kimball)

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Marines Abrams Tank Cannon Live Fire

U.S. Marines with Bravo Company, 4th Tank Battalion, fire the M1A1 Abrams tank during a live-fire exercise as part of Exercise Arrow 18 in Pohjankangas Training Area near Kankaanpaa, Finland, May 15, 2018. Exercise Arrow was an annual Finnish multi-national exercise with the purpose of training with mechanized infantry, artillery, and mortar field training skills in a live-fire exercise. This is the first year the Marine Corps is participating in this exercise and the first time the M1A1 Abrams tanks have been in Finland. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Marcin Platek)

U.S. Marines with Bravo Company, 4th Tank Battalion, fire the M1A1 Abrams tank during a live-fire exercise as part of Exercise Arrow 18 in Pohjankangas Training Area near Kankaanpaa, Finland, May 15, 2018. Exercise Arrow was an annual Finnish multi-national exercise with the purpose of training with mechanized infantry, artillery, and mortar field training skills in a live-fire exercise. This is the first year the Marine Corps is participating in this exercise and the first time the M1A1 Abrams tanks have been in Finland. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Marcin Platek)

U.S. Marines with Bravo Company, 4th Tank Battalion, fire the M1A1 Abrams tank during a live-fire exercise as part of Exercise Arrow 18 in Pohjankangas Training Area near Kankaanpaa, Finland, May 15, 2018. Exercise Arrow was an annual Finnish multi-national exercise with the purpose of training with mechanized infantry, artillery, and mortar field training skills in a live-fire exercise. This is the first year the Marine Corps is participating in this exercise and the first time the M1A1 Abrams tanks have been in Finland. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Marcin Platek)