Navy, Marine Corps demonstrate ‘lightning carrier’ concept

By Audrey Decker / April 13, 2022 at 3:34 PM

The Navy and Marine Corps demonstrated their “lightning carrier” concept on an amphibious assault ship earlier this month.

The services operated 20 F-35B Lightning II jets from the America-class amphibious assault carrier Tripoli from March 30 through April 8, according to a Marine Corps press release.

The exercise featured 16 jets from Marine Aircraft Group 13 and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and four from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, the press release states.

The lightning carrier concept proves that amphibious assault ships can be a “lethal addition,” helping the Navy and Marine Corps fly more F-35Bs, the service said on Monday.

“This concept will not change the standard make-up of an Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit,” the Marine Corps said. “However, the exercise demonstrated the potential to utilize amphibious assault ships to provide the naval and joint force with lethal access, collection, and strike capabilities from fifth-generation short takeoff/ vertical landing aircraft in future operations.”

The Marine Corps unfunded priorities list included $671 million for six additional F-35s.