Vice Adm. David H. Buss stepped down as the Navy’s “air boss” last month. Vice Adm. Buss reports that the F-35’s recent successful sea trials showed that the fighter jet is close to becoming operational, and that it is “essential to the future of carrier air wings”.
From Navy Times coverage:
“I’m very happy with where we are with the program now,” Buss said during an interview at his office at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, shortly before stepping down.
“We still have some work to do with regard to the elements that must come into place for the Navy to reach initial operating capability with the F-35C in 2018,” he said. “But I’m very happy with where we are after a very successful two-week at sea period [n November] We ended up with 124 traps and 124 cat shots and about 250 or so touch-and-go’s as well.”
The aircraft accomplished tasks that its predecessors, the F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, did not, he said.
“We got to operate the two aircraft we had on board in a variety of envelopes and even got to night operations,” Buss said. “The night catapults and traps — which we didn’t do in the initial developmental test programs for either the F-18 or the Super Hornet — show you we’ve made very, very good progress.”