The Future of U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wings | New Aircraft


Check out our new video where we delve into the U.S. Navy's current plans (as of late 2020) for the future aircraft composition of their Carrier Air Wing into the late 2020s.


The US Navy Carrier Air Wing currently consists of 4 strike fighter squadrons, 1 electronic attack squadron, 1 airborne early warning squadron, 1 helicopter sea combat squadron, 1 helicopter maritime strike squadron, and 1 fleet support logistics detachment. This structure will be staying mostly the same, but with the potential addition of an unmanned aerial refuelling squadron.


In 2019 and 2020, all of Navy strike fighter squadrons on carrier deployment were F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadrons (with the exception of U.S. Marine F/A-18C Hornet squadrons, which made their last carrier deployment in 2020). However, beginning in 2021, F-35C Lightning Squadrons will start to get cycled through deployments. They will be starting with 10-aircraft squadron at a rate of one per year in 2021 and 2022, but hope to increase that to one 16-aircraft squadron per carrier by the late 2020s. That will be 16 F-35Cs and 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets per carrier.


The Navy also wants to add 5 to 9 MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial refuelling aircraft to each Carrier Air Wing.


The C-2A Greyhound is also looking to be replaced in the early 2020s by the CMV-22B Osprey, a modified version of the MV-22B Osprey already in service with the U.S. Marine Corps. Complements of E-2D Hawkeye AEW aircraft will be increased by 1 (from 4 aircraft to 5) and the EA-18G Growler squadron may see a variable increase from 5 to 7 (currently fixed at 5 per squadron).

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