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For the first time complete Carrier Air Wing on board USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78 aircraft carrier


According to an article published on the 3WTKR website on June 03, 2020, the US Navy USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78 aircraft carrier has for the first time the complete air wing CVW-8 on board. The Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8), is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).
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For the first time complete Carrier Air Wing on board USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 aircraft carrier 925 001 The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pulls alongside the underway replenishment oiler USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) during a replenishment at sea, May 15, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)


In March 2020, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has completed its Flight Deck Certification (FDC) and Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) Certification, following two days of intense flight deck operations to prove the ship and crew’s capabilities. During two days, F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets from the four fighter aircraft squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 conducted 123 day and 42 night catapult launches and trap recoveries aboard Ford, along with a Precision Approach Landing Systems (PALS) certification event.

The US Navy USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78 aircraft carrier is able to carry up to 90 aircraft, including the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, Grumman C-2 Greyhound, Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II, Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, and unmanned combat aerial vehicles.

The missions of Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) are to conduct carrier air warfare operations and assist in the planning, control, coordination and integration of nine air wing squadrons in support of carrier air warfare including; Interception and destruction of enemy aircraft and missiles in all-weather conditions to establish and maintain local air superiority. All-weather offensive air-to-surface attacks, Detection, localization, and destruction of enemy ships and submarines to establish and maintain local sea control.

The missions of CVW-8 also include Aerial photographic, sighting, and electronic intelligence for naval and joint operations. Airborne early warning service to fleet forces and shore warning nets. Airborne electronic countermeasures. In-flight refueling operations to extend the range and the endurance of air wing aircraft and Search and rescue operations.


For the first time complete Carrier Air Wing on board USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 aircraft carrier 925 002
Aviation Ordnancemen assigned to squadrons attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 prepare F/A-18E Super Hornets for flight on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) prior to flight operations, May 30, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)


The CVW-8 consists of 8 Squadrons including the VFA-34 with F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter, the VFA-37 with F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter, VFA-97 with F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter, VFA-213 with F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter, the VAW-124 with E-2C Hawkeye all-weather carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, the VAQ-131 with EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the VRC-40 with C-2A Greyhound cargo aircraft, the HSC-90 with MH-60S Seahawk naval helicopters and the HSM-70 with MH-60R naval helicopters.

The strike/fighter role is fulfilled by Strike Fighter Squadrons THREE ONE, EIGHT SEVEN and TWO ONE THREE, flying the FA-18E and FA-18F "SUPER HORNET,” and Strike Fighter Squadron THREE SEVEN flying the FA-18C "HORNET". Command and control is the responsibility of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO FOUR with the multi-mission E-2C "HAWKEYE”.

The antisubmarine, anti-surface warfare, and combat search and rescue missions are the domain of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron NINE and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN ZERO flying the MH-60S and MH-60R "SEAHAWK" helicopters. Electronic Attack Squadron ONE THREE ONE provides electronic attack and electronic surveillance to enhance the Navy's capabilities and survivability in today's electronically oriented combat environment by flying the Navy’s newest war fighting machine, the EA-18 “Growler". The task of getting personnel and supplies to and from the ship falls to the “Rawhides”, a detachment of C-2A Greyhounds from Fleet Logistical Support Squadron FOUR ZERO.


For the first time complete Carrier Air Wing on board USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 aircraft carrier 925 003
An E-2C Hawkeye, attached to the "Bear Aces" of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 124, taxis on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during flight operations, May 29, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)