USS Dwight D. Eisenhower starts flight deck certification

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) got underway from Naval Station Norfolk on April 8 for its flight deck certification and for first flight ops since the summer of 2017.

The ship recently completed a planned incremental availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard as part of the maintenance phase of the optimized fleet response plan (OFRP).

“Flight Deck Certification is the first major event for IKE now that we’ve entered the basic phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan,” said Capt. Kyle Higgins, Ike’s commanding officer.

“Having Air Wing 3 back on board, ready for action, is what’s makes this exciting for the entire crew. This ship was built to launch and recover aircraft and that’s what we’ll do — first out here in the Virginia Capes, and then wherever the nation needs us.”

This underway will include the aircraft and crew of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, which features Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83 and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131.

After completing flight deck certification, Ike will continue training at sea and conducting carrier qualifications as the crew prepare for a future deployment as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10.

Photo: An E2-C Hawkeye prepares to take off on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Photo: US Navy