Super Bowl flyover will showcase Navy’s ‘Carrier Air Wing of the Future’
Stars and Stripes January 31, 2023
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – The Navy plans to flaunt its “Carrier Air Wing of the Future” during a four-ship flyover of Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
The four tactical aircraft – two F/A-18F Super Hornets, an F-35C Lightning II and an EA-18G Growler – will roar over the stadium on game day, Feb. 12, just as country music star Chris Stapleton sings, “…and the home of the brave,” the last line of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” according to a Navy news release Sunday.
The Super Bowl is a high-profile opportunity for the sea service to show off its most technologically advanced aircraft on one of the world’s biggest stages. The NFL estimates that 200 million people watched last year’s Super Bowl.
The Navy’s air wing of the future provides advanced technology and enhanced flexibility to military combatant commanders, according to the Navy release. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group with Carrier Air Wing 2 embarked on a South China Sea deployment in September 2021, for example, with squadrons of F-35Cs and CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft assembled as a future air wing.
Flyovers, a military tradition that began during World War I, are criticized for the fuel consumption and other expenses related to the exercise. The military responds that the flights are part of pilot training or are exhibition units, like the Navy’s Blue Angels, who serve a public relations function.
An informal 2011 reader poll by the Times-Union of Jacksonville, Fla., found most respondents “overwhelmingly in favor” of as many flyovers of the city’s Jaguar NFL games as possible.
For the Super Bowl flyover, a pregame tradition, the two F/A-18F Super Hornets and the F-35C Lightning II come from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., and the EA-18G Growler is based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. The four aircraft will depart from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and fly over State Farm Stadium, which can accommodate 73,000 patrons, according to statefarmstadium.com.
“It’s not a feeling I can even put into words,” Lt. Katie Martinez, a naval aviator with the Super Hornets from Lemoore, said in the Navy release. “It doesn’t get bigger than the Super Bowl, and I am humbled and honored to be able to participate with my friends and fellow Naval Aviators as part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The Super Hornet, the backbone of naval aviation since 1999, was updated for a continuing role as a strike fighter in the 21st century. The F-35C, a fifth-generation multirole aircraft equipped with advanced avionics and stealth technology, is becoming the new foundation for air power, according to the Navy. The Growler is a Super Hornet variant with sophisticated electronic warfare avionics for a variety of missions including communications jamming and countermeasures.