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The year in review: 2010.

The Naval Aviation community conducted multiple deployments in 2010 to fight worldwide aggression at sea and on land. Aircrews provided crucial naval capabilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, helped cut the flow of drugs into the United States, and interdicted pirates off the Horn of Africa. Sailors and Marines provided humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Thomas in Haiti, Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, and bouts of intense flooding in Pakistan, and assisted with containment and cleaning operations in response to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Navy made organizational changes and updated operational methods to address emerging requirements, such as adjusting the Aviation Career Continuation Pay program and proposing to reduce Navy unit deployed squadrons from 12 to 10 aircraft each to match a corresponding decrease in Marine expeditionary squadrons. The Naval Aviation community also continued to improve its capabilities with new technologies and programs: The F-35 Lighting II surpassed 500 test flights; the F-35C completed its first flight; EA-18G Growlers began validation training; the first P-8A Poseidon arrived for evaluation at NAS Patuxent River, Md.; naval students completed their first flights in T-6B Texan lls; the fleet received the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes; and the Navy approved AH-1Z Vipers for full-rate production. Improvements in weaponry included the purchase of 124 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers through 2014, arrival of the first 11 ADM-154C-1 Joint Standoff Weapons, and the first deployment of the GAU-21.50-caliber weapon system aboard UH-1Y Venoms.

New ships continued to augment naval capabilities, including USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), which completed sea trials off the Virginia capes, and USS Freedom (LCS1), which began its maiden deployment to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

The following chronology captures the major highlights of Naval Aviation's accomplishments in 2010.


7 The F-35B Lightning II utilized its short takeoff/vertical landing propulsion system for the first time during a flight at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

25 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 crashed in the Mediterranean while en route from Beirut, Lebanon, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 90 people aboard. Aircraft and vessels of the 6th Fleet that assisted in the search and rescue included a P-3C Orion, USS Ramage (DDG 61), and salvage ship USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53).

26 The Navy announced adjustments to the Aviation Career Continuation Pay program to provide selected bonuses as an incentive to eligible pilots and naval flight officers through department head, sea duty, and command billets.

27-29 George H.W. Bush completed sea trials off the Virginia capes.


8 Space shuttle Endeavour (STS-130) launched from John F Kennedy Space Center, Fla. During this mission to the International Space Station, Naval Aviation crewmembers comprised Marine Col. George D. Zamka and Navy Capt. Kathryn P. Hire. Endeavour returned to Kennedy on 21 February.

16 Freedom began its maiden deployment to the Caribbean and eastern Pacific from NS Mayport, Fla. During the voyage, the ship made four drug interceptions comprising more than five and a quarter tons of cocaine and 13 smugglers. On 23 April, Freedom reached its new homeport of NS San Diego, Calif.

24 CNO Adm. Gary Roughead presented his FY2011 Posture Statement to Congress, which included the intention to reduce Navy unit deployed squadrons from 12 to 10 aircraft each to match a corresponding decrease in Marine expeditionary squadrons.


4 An F/A-18F Super Hornet performed the first captive carriage test of an AGM-154C-1 Joint Standoff Weapon at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, Calif

10 Neil A. Armstrong received honorary Naval Astronaut Wings during a ceremony aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

18 The F-35B Lightning II completed its first vertical landing at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

26 The South Korean corvette Cheonan (PCC 772) split in two and sank in the Yellow Sea. Allied ships that responded to the crisis included USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), and MH-60S Seahawks of HSC-25 Det. 6 assisted South Korean salvage efforts. A subsequent investigation declared that a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine was responsible for the sinking.

31 President Barack Obama announced his administration's plans for energy security, including the Navy's biofuel program at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The Navy's protocols to certify alternative fuels included an experimental 50/50 biofuel blend for F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, and the intended use of biofuels in all aircraft by 2016 and alternative energy sources to power half of all shore aviation establishments by 2020.


1 Eleven pirates in three skiffs attacked Sierra Leone-flagged tanker Evita about 310 miles northwest of the Seychelles. A Swedish maritime patrol aircraft responded to the tanker's distress call and located the attackers. An SH-60B Seahawk from USS Farragut (DDG 99) monitored the suspects and directed the destroyer to the interception of the pirates. During a separate battle, pirates fired on USS Nicholas (FFG 47) west of the Seychelles. The frigate and its embarked SH-60B Seahawk defeated the pirates, sank their skiff, and captured their mother ship and five pirates from the two vessels.

3 An MQ-8B Fire Scout of HSL-42 Det. 7, embarked aboard USS McInerney (FFG 8), proved crucial in the interception of a go-fast craft smuggling drugs in the eastern Pacific. The Fire Scout filmed the activities of the smugglers and the frigate seized the boat and 132 pounds of cocaine. The traffickers also jettisoned an estimated 440 pounds of the illicit cargo during this first interception of drug smugglers using a Fire Scout.

5 Space shuttle Discovery (STS-131) launched from John R Kennedy Space Center, Fla. During this mission to the International Space Station, the crew included naval aviator Capt. Alan G. Poindexter. Discovery returned to Kennedy on 20 April.

7 Test pilot David Nelson flew an F-35B, designated BF-4, during the first flight of a mission systems-equipped Lightning II at Fort Worth, Texas.

10 The first P-8A Poseidon test aircraft, designated Tl, BuNo 167951, arrived for evaluations at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

20 An accidental blowout aboard a British Petroleum/ Transocean drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, resulted in a massive oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. Emergency responders subsequently established five staging areas along the gulf coast including NAS Pensacola, Fla. Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilian aid workers set out oil containment booms at the naval air station and along areas of the Alabama and Florida coastlines.


14 Space shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) launched from John F. Kennedy Space Center, Fla. During this mission to the International Space Station, Naval Aviation crewmembers comprised Capts. Kenneth Ham and Stephen G. Bowen and Cmdr. Dominic A. Antonelli. Atlantis returned to Kennedy on 26 May.

14 The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics certified to Congress that the proposed F/A-18 multiyear procurement met statutory requirements for 124 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers into FY2013. The action facilitated the Navy's intention to acquire the remaining program of record of 515 Super Hornets and 114 Growlers.

18 Instructor Marine Capt. Michael Perkins and Navy Ens. Christopher D. Farkas of VT-3 completed the first naval student flight in a T-6B Texan II at NAS Whiting Field, Fla.

26 USS San Jacinto (CG 56), with its embarked SH-60B Seahawk designated Proud Warrior 433 of HSL-42 and a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment, rescued five Yemeni mariners and their dhow Al Jawat from 13 pirates about 68 miles southeast of Ras Fartak, Yemen. San Jacinto apprehended the culprits and transferred them to the Yemeni Navy. On 31 May and 1 June, San Jacinto and Proud Warrior 433 disrupted nine more pirates in a skiff from attacking merchant vessel Avenue Beauty about 90 miles north of Somalia.

27 Two eruptions of the volcano Pacaya followed by the impact of Tropical Storm Agatha caused widespread devastation in Guatemala. On 31 May, USS Underwood (FFG 36) and its embarked SH-60Bs from HSL-60 arrived off the Guatemalan coast and began humanitarian assistance flights. Into early June, the Seahawk and four other U.S. helos flew more than 40 sorties to deliver supplies to victims.

28 NAVAIR announced the readiness of the first AH-lZ Viper full-motion cockpit simulator to train pilots at Camp Pendleton, Calif.


6 Test pilot Jeff Knowles completed the first flight of an F-35C Lightning II, designated CF-1, at JRB Fort Worth, Texas.

8 The transfer of the last P-3C Orion of VP-26 completed the transition of patrol squadrons from NAS Brunswick, Maine, to NAS Jacksonville, Fla.

8 The E-6B Mercury program completed a Milestone C review that enabled Block I aircraft to enter the production and deployment phase.


2 Pakistani fishing vessel Al An Wari sank in the Gulf of Aden. On 5 July, a P-3C Orion of VP-16 deployed to Djibouti spotted the 16 survivors in a life raft about 144 miles west of Socotra Island and directed an SH-60B from USS Elrod (FFG 55) to the area. The Seahawk rescued 12 of the mariners and the frigate saved the remaining four men.

8 Navy-manned MZ-3A Advanced Airship Flying Laboratory arrived at Lake Front Airport, New Orleans, La. The Coast Guard requested the assistance of the airship, which was derived from A-170 blimps, to detect spreading oil and wildlife threatened by the accident on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April.

28 Heavy rains into the first week of August caused flooding in Pakistan that killed an estimated 1,600 people and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless. On 9 August, USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), and USS Dubuque (LPD 8) arrived off Karachi, Pakistan. At times, 15 CH-46E Sea Knights of HMM-165 and CH-53E Super Stallions of HMH-465 from the 15(th) Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), augmented by MH-60S Seahawks of HSC-23 and three MH-53E Sea Dragons of HM-15 Det. 2, contributed to the evacuation of 10,051 people and delivery of approximately 1.9 million pounds of relief supplies. Some of these helos operated from Pakistani airfields at Chaklala, Ghazi, and Pano Aqil. Two SA-330J Pumas flew from USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1).

29 CNO Adm. Gary Roughead accepted E-2Ds to the fleet with the delivery of the first Advanced Hawkeye to VAW-120 at NS Norfolk, Va.


11 P-8As reached Milestone C and the Defense Acquisition Board approved the commencement of low-rate production of the Poseidon.

18 An F/A-18C Hornet of VFA-37, embarked aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in the northern Arabian Sea, spotted a vessel on fire about 50 miles from the carrier. Two SH-60F Seahawks of HS-7 rescued all eight Iranian mariners.

26 The Naval Air Training Command celebrated one million T-45 Goshawk flight hours at NAS Cecil Field, Fla.


GAU-21.50-caliber weapon systems deployed for the first time with the UH-lY Venoms of HMLA-169 from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

7 NAVAIR redesignated the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned air system as the MQ-4C.

16 USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), and USS Ponce (LPD 15), with MV-22B Ospreys of VMM-266 and helos from the 26(th) MEU embarked, arrived in the Arabian Sea to participate in humanitarian relief operations in Pakistan.

27 The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification and return of the remains of Lt. Francis B. Mclntyre and ARM2 William L. Russell of VC-24. On 10 November 1943, they launched in an SBD-5, BuNo 35931, on a bombing and strafing raid from Munda Airfield, New Georgia. Witnesses last saw the Dauntless flying through an explosion on Buka Island on Papua New Guinea.

28 NAVAIR announced the purchase of 124 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers based on a multiyear procurement contract through 2014.


13 NAVAIR announced the completion of the Barking Sands Underwater Range Expansion refurbishment off Kauai, Hawaii. The program enhanced anti-submarine warfare training through increased acoustics and frequency bandwidth.

15 The Navy accepted the first 11 production AGM-154C-1 Joint Standoff Weapons at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Okla.

15 One of three test P-8As completed several sonobuoy launches in the Atlantic Test Range. The exercise marked the first sonobuoy drops by Poseidons.


5 Hurricane Tomas struck western Haiti. On 6 November, helicopters operating from USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) began damage assessment flights in support of international relief teams.

6 The first F-35C Lightning II, designated CF-1, arrived for testing at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

8 A fire erupted in the aft engine room of cruise ship Carnival Splendor, which, subsequently lost power about 150 nautical miles southwest of San Diego, Calif. The following day, C-2A Greyhounds of VRC-30 transported supplies from NAS North Island, Calif, to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), where HH-60H and SH-60F Seahawks of HS-4 then delivered the provisions to the stricken ship. A Coast Guard HC-130H Hercules, HH-65C Dolphin, MH-60T Jayhawks, and cutters USCGS Aspen (WLB 208), USCGS Edisto (WPB 1313), USCGS Morgenthau (WHEC 722), and USCGS Petrel (WPB 87350) also participated. Tugs eventually towed Carnival Splendor to San Diego.

10 Two F-35Bs completed the first formation flight of Lightning IIs at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

12 Two EA-18G Growlers began validation training at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Fallon, Nev.

18 An F-35 accomplished the 500th test flight of a Lightning II.

18 An MH-60S Seahawk of HX-21 flew using an experimental 50/50 biofuel blend at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

28 NAVAIR approved AH-1Z Vipers for fullrate production.


9 The F-35 Lightning II program achieved its 2010 goal of 394 test flights.

18 Navy Lt. Daniel Radocaj of VX-23 made the first launch of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System in an F/A-18E Super Hornet at Joint Base McGuire-Fort Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

By Chris Martin, Christopher A. Warren, and Dale J. Gordon

Chris Martin, Dale J. Gordon, and Christopher A. Warren are archives personnel within the Histories and Archives Division of the Naval History and Heritage Command.
COPYRIGHT 2011 Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Martin, Chris; Warren, Christopher A.; Gordon, Dale J.
Publication:Naval Aviation News
Article Type:Calendar
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 22, 2011
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