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Navy completes testing next-gen air combat training system on F/A-18

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Naval Aviation Training System and Ranges program office (PMA-205) recently completed testing its next- generation air combat training system, the Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS II), on an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. 

The latest series of tests, conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, are the culmination of innovative, strategic planning across multiple organizations working together with industry to complete this mission with urgency.

“It is a significant milestone event when a system moves from lab testing to aircraft testing at Pax River.  Due to the hard work of our government and industry team, these tests are meeting program schedule dates to enable low rate production this April,” said Capt. Lisa Sullivan, PMA-205 program manager.

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The Navy Is Finally Creating America’s Next Fighter Jet

The U.S. Navy is laying the groundwork to field a new fighter jet sometime in the next decade. The Next Generation Air Dominance fighter, meant to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, should start flying off America’s aircraft carriers in the 2030s. But a declining defense budget and short timetable could mean the best candidate is … the F-35.

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers typically embark four squadrons of fighter jets as part of the carrier air wing. Right now, all four squadrons fly the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Over the course of the next decade, the Navy will retire older Super Hornets in favor of the carrier-based variant of the F-35, the F-35C. By the 2030s, a carrier air wing should consist of about two squadrons of upgraded Super Hornets, the Block III, and two squadrons of F-35Cs.

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