The US Navy says that its version of the F-35 fighter jet is now ready for combat. After more than two decades of testing and development, the service announced Thursday that the advanced aircraft has achieved Initial Operating Capability, meaning it passed the proper tests to be flown on missions.
Thursday’s announcement comes shortly after the first squadron of Navy F-35s completed aircraft carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson.
“The F-35C is ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win,” said Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces. “We are adding an incredible weapon system into the arsenal of our Carrier Strike Groups that significantly enhances the capability of the joint force.”