Master Base NAS Lemoore

First-F-35C_169601_VMFA-314_VW434

Master Base NAS Lemoore

NAS Lemoore is the largest U.S. Navy base, at approximately 12,000 hectares (or around 29,600 acres). Opened in 1961 it now a Master Jet Base of the U.S. Navy, one of only three in total. In 1998, NAS Lemoore was selected as the home for the Super Hornets on the U.S. West Coast. Lemoore has two parallel runways of 4100 meters (around 13.450 feet), with the parking and maintenance hangars in between.

NAS Lemoore is home to five Carrier Air Wings, with CVW-5 permanently based in Japan. 230 F/A-18E/Fs and F-35Cs are based in Lemoore, with the number of F-35Cs increasing. There will be no new squadrons with the F-35C, but some squadrons will change from the Super Hornet to the Lightning II in the future. At the moment there is the training squadron for the F-35C on the West Coast (VFA-125), and the first active squadron – VFA-147 “Argonauts”.

Between 10,800 and 11,000 people work in Lemoore, some of whom are civilians. Flying takes place during 300 days a year at Lemoore; the number of take-offs and landings varies daily. When a carrier wing comes back from deployment, the crew and planes have a few days off, and the planes are parked with cockpit glazing covers.

In Lemoore, Super Hornets can be one- or double-seaters. These are currently all up to Block II standards. This 15-year old Block program has now been closed and work is being done on the next generation, Block III. The Block III aircraft have a faster mission computer and a more robust communication system – upgrades that could ultimately help the aircraft control and direct Unmanned Wingman aircraft. The aircraft also has conformal fuel tanks that carry 1,590 kg of additional fuel (around 3,500 pounds within CFT tanks) and a lifespan of 10,000 flight hours. All Block IIs will be upgraded to IIIs (when the older aircraft accumulate more than 6000 flight hours) and a further 72 new Super Hornets will be ordered. As a result, the U.S. Navy ultimately will purchase 680 Super Hornets.

The F-35C is a carrier-supported variant that differs externally from other models by way of a larger wings, foldable wing tips, and reinforced landing gear and tail hooks. The VFA-147 became operational in February 2019.

The U.S. Navy currently plans to purchase 280 F-35Cs. Of these, seven squadrons will be stationed in Lemoore. In addition, a further 67 F-35Cs will fly with the U.S. Marines, which are intended for use on aircraft carriers along with the Navy’s aircraft. VMFA-314 was the first squadron to receive USMC “C model” Lightning IIs in January, 2020 at MCAS Miramar.

CVW-2 NE
VFA-2 Bounty Hunters F/A-18F
VFA-113 Stingers F/A-18E
VFA-147 Argonauts F-35C (seit 2018)
VFA-192 Dambusters F/A-18E

CVW-9 NG

VFA -14 Tophatters F/A-18E
VFA -41 Black Aces F/A-18F
VFA- 97 Warhawks F/A-18E (ab 2020 F-35C)
VFA-151 Vigilantes F/A-18E

CVW-11 NH

VFA- 31 Tomcatters F/A-18E
VFA-146 Blue Diamonds F/A-18E
VFA-154 Black Knights F/A-18F

CVW-17 NA

VFA- 22 Fighting Redcocks F/A-18F
VFA- 94 Mighty Shrikes F/A-18F
VFA-113 Stingers F/A-18E
VFA-137 Kestrels F/A-18E

CVW-5 NF

VFA- 27 Royal Maces F/A-18E
VFA-102 Diamondbacks F/A-18F
VFA-115 Eagles F/A-18E
VFA-195 Dambusters F/A-18E

Training Squadronl NJ

VFA-122 Flying Eagles F/A-18E,F
VFA-125 Rough Raiders F-35C

SAR Lemoore

MH60S

A big thank you to Mr. Marcelo H. Calero for supporting me during my visit and taking a whole day to help me with this article and photos.

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Peter Boschert

Peter is a photographer covering events in the United States and in Europe. He likes to cover Nellis AFB, NAS Fallon and RAF Lakenheath.

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