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05:13 AM, March 2, 2019
Lockheed Martin's F-35C Lightning II Combat Ready

The US Navy has declared F-35C Lightning II as ready for operational use after meeting all the necessary requirements.

“The F-35C is ready for operations, ready for combat," US Naval Air Forces commander vice-admiral DeWolfe Miller said.

Two other variants of the F-35 are already in service with the US Air Force and the Marine Corps.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter programme, regarded as the most expensive weapons system.

The company designed three variants of the fighter in order to accommodate the unique needs of each armed force of the US: the F-35A for the Air Force, F-35B for the Marine Corps, and F-35C for the Navy.

The F-35 aircraft is equipped with stealth technology, avionics, advanced sensors, weapons capacity, and range. It has capabilities such as air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defences and close-air-support, advanced command and control functions through fused sensors.

The Navy has either built or refurbished several facilities at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore to facilitate specific F-35C requirements related to maintenance and training. The infrastructure includes a pilot fit facility, centralised engine repair facility, pilot training centre, and a newly remodelled hangar.

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