EUROPEAN EXERCISES AND NEW CAPABILITIES FOR THE LIGHTNING II
VMFA-314 ‘BLACK KNIGHTS’ will be the first of four US Marine Corps squadrons to operate the carrier variant of the F-35. It will be the second US front-line squadron to transition to the F-35C and will also make the second deployment with a carrier air wing (CVW). Although VMFA-314 is still operating the F/A-18C, several of its pilots are already in training with VFA-125 ‘Rough Raiders’ at NAS Lemoore, California. According to the 2019 Marine Corps Aviation Plan, VMFA-314 is scheduled to be certified as ‘safe-for-flight’ by the beginning of fiscal year 2020, which begins on October 1, 2019. It will initially operate six F-35Cs but will have a full complement of 10 by mid-2021.