US Navy’s Newest Super Carrier Can’t Operate the F-35

That's $13 billion (in pre-COVID dollars) well spent

$13 billion used to be a lot of dough before the $4 trillion in treasuries issued in 2020

When the USS Ford was being built, we all assumed, quite logically, that the ship would be able to operate the F-35 which had been around for twenty years or so, in various stages of development. The timing was looking about right – the carrier and the F-35C would both be ready about the same time. Well, in yet another disappointment for the Ford, it turns out that the carrier wasn’t actually built to operate F-35s. No, this is not an April Fools post or some ComNavOps comedy piece. This is real. The Navy’s newest carrier can’t operate the F-35.

As it turns out, most of the Navy’s carriers and amphibious ships (LHA/LHD) can’t operate the F-35.

Yes, the F-35C can take off and land on the carriers but the ships lack the communications, data integration, and maintenance facilities to fully utilize the supposed capabilities of the F-35 – those much hyped surveillance capabilities. Without the proper comms and data handling facilities on the carriers, the F-35 can collect data but can’t effectively relay it to the carrier and allow the carrier to make use of it.

On a related and stunning note, the US Navy has almost no ability to transfer F-35 engines to carriers. The Ford is the only carrier that has the equipment to receive an engine. The MV-22 has demonstrated the ability to transport a single engine to a carrier but this can only be done over very short distances.

As far as the amphibious ships, none can land the F-35B due to its excessive exhaust heat which damages the flight deck unless it has been specially modified. You’ll recall that even the new USS America was unable to operate the F-35B, as the ship was built. It had to be modified with special deck heat treatments, thermal and structural modifications to compartments immediately beneath the flight deck, and relocation of equipment in the path of the F-35B’s downward landing exhaust in addition to numerous communications and data handling facility installations and modifications. Yes, America, the ship that was purpose-built for the F-35B was unable to operate the F-35B without extensive and expensive modifications.

In fact, of 11 carriers and 33 amphibious ships, currently only 4 amphibious ships can fully operate the F-35. The lucky four are listed below.

  • USS Essex
  • USS Makin Island
  • USS America
  • USS Wasp

Even with the modifications, the F-35B can only land on a couple of limited spots. For the America, the F-35B can only land on spots 7 and 9.

It is worth noting that none of the supercarriers can operate the F-35.

The USS Bonhomme Richard, LHD-6, which recently suffered a massive fire that burned out of control for several days, would have been the fifth ship altered to operate the F-35. The Bonhomme Richard is now, officially, being scrapped.

So, for those of you who envision air armadas of Navy F-35s sweeping the skies clear of enemy aircraft, that vision is still a long way in the future because we only have four amphibious ships that can even operate the F-35!

It is worth noting that the modifications required to operate the F-35 require many months and hundreds of millions of dollars to install (I assume the F-35 proponents are dutifully adding that to the cost of the F-35?). It is not a capability that can be quickly installed when needed. It will take decades to bring the current ships up to the standard required to handle the F-35. If a war were to start today, we’d be limited to four amphibious ships operating our F-35s.

What is all this telling us?  What lessons are being demonstrated (and ignored!)?

  • In our pursuit of technology, we created an aircraft too complex to even communicate with our carriers.
  • Concurrency kills.
  • Even the modified ships have only a limited F-35 operating capability and, in the event of battle damage, we might lack the ability to operate the aircraft due to damage to a couple of specific landing spots.
  • In pursuit of the big, expensive, flashy toys, we’re ignoring the mundane support and infrastructure needed to even fully operate the toys.

Just a reminder … When the F-35C reaches squadron service, the Navy is planning to reduce the squadron size from the current 12 aircraft to 10, further shrinking the already shrunken air wings. The F-35 is the gift that keeps on giving!

Source: Navy Matters

  1. L Garou says


  2. Common Sense says

    …there is an excellent Swedish jet fighter, called the Saab Gripen “E” ….! Bang for buck, it’s equal to or better than the F-35 …!

    1. Tom Turek says

      If it’s the equal to, then it’s no bl**dy good, eh? Logic.

  3. Stoic says

    Is that Putin in the background laughing ?

  4. james richardson says

    The F-35 was designed more for putting money….lots of money….into certain people’s pockets. It was not designed for war fighting. When war comes, and it will, we are toast. There are numerous ways of committing treason and many of the folks involved in this project are guilty of one of those ways.

    1. George W Obama says

      With its stealth abilities the FU-35 can take all your money with out ever leaving the ground.

  5. dogmatix says

    kinda reminds me of the story of the Tortise and the Hare. The hare was faster, but the race was won by the slow but steady tortise. I’m sure that some day the F-35 will be a great weapons system – but until then, give me a simple, reliable, system that I can depend on.

  6. Bert says

    So, how did YOU come to know so much about the Secret Government airplane? And what if they can operate just fine but they lied to you and fed you A Story? LOL I bet they’ll figure out their problems, because the Navy’s crafty, like that. Even craftierer than the shrieking harpies of the interwebs on the Googles. 🙂

  7. Séamus Ó Néill says

    Could the US, in a re-run, invade Grenada again and win….I doubt it, and these moronic assholes are threatenng China, Russia, Iran etc. The Khazar/Israeli’s have completely overun America and left it a third world cesspit and the moronic populace fight over another rigged election….as if their votes mattered !

    1. BitinDawg says

      Thank you Sir. You are a great truth teller.

  8. Fred Stone says

    The Russians and Chinese must be laughing their asses off

  9. abinico says

    I want my money back.

  10. Aurum Cimex says

    The US military is unique in the world. No other country allows their military to be run by Laurel and Hardy.

    1. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

      More like a bunch of mobsters. I can’t imagine how many billions were spent over-designing and re-designing this sensitive, overly complex thing. However, I can guarantee a number of people became millionaires many times over during the process.

    2. Jasonovich says

      That’s another fine mess…..

  11. ke4ram says

    America (Americans) is so corrupt it requires $50 for every dollar of product. I keep increasing this dollar amount due to the nonstop dilution of the dollar by the FRB and the Treasury. This dilution is reducing the dollars buying power which equates to robbery. The $1200 sent to everyone? You robbed yourselves. But no one will truly care until the end of the dollar which will likely occur at the same time the new digital currency appears.

    American engineering is at the bottom of the list. Products are now only made for dollar generation. Whether they work is not a consideration. If American soldiers die because of defective equipment it only generates more dollars to ‘fix’ the problem.

    The Empire is done. It’s broke. It’s immoral. Time for a new Empire. As I type billions of dollars in experimental toxic drugs are being shot into folks for a disease that 99.87% survive. The West is corruption central not to mention the intelligence level is down there with the Dodo Bird. Like the Dodo’s,,, Americans due to their inability to adapt to the imminent threats, their inability to discern truth from fiction, their fear of dying even for life and liberty, they will disappear into the night.

    1. BitinDawg says

      Virtually, every social engineering initiative of the Zio “Deep State”, is a defacto assault on the Caucasian gene pool.

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