The USS Abraham Lincoln accomplished a major milestone when it completed carrier qualifications (CQ) for the F-35C stealth fighter aircraft.

Pilots assigned to the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and the “Grim Reapers” of VFA 101 accomplished day and night qualifications with 140 traps in anticipation of F-35C operational testing later this year.

Aboard for part of the CQ was Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director of the U.S. Navy F-35C Fleet Integration Office, who was previously embarked aboard Abraham Lincoln during a nine-and-a-half-month deployment in 2002.

“I have tight ties to Lincoln,” said Horan. “It’s personally interesting for me, but also professionally, it’s really neat to see this aircraft out there with other aircraft; we haven’t done that before. Previously, all the CQ evolutions have just been F-35s.”

“My original platform is the Hornet, which I’ve flown for the past three years,” said Lt. Nick Rezendes, a pilot attached to VFA 101, who qualified on the F-35C during this CQ. “I wanted to switch to flying the Navy’s newest aircraft, and now that I have, I wouldn’t mind sticking with it for the rest of my career.”- US Navy

Featured image of An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 125 performing a touch and go on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mark Logico

An F-35C Lightning II assigned to the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 125 performs a touch and go on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mark Logico

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