reliability of established and upgraded weapons
systems and materials.
1971. Navy takes delivery of the AV-8 Harrier, a
fixed wing, vertical takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jet
aircraft used for combat, and the EA-6B Prowler, the
newest carrier-based sophisticated electronic warfare
aircraft. The Navy also received the new CH-53A Sea
Stallion, a helicopter devoted exclusively to mine
magnetic and acoustical equipment, the CH-53 locates
and activates enemy mines.
The Navy receives its first new fighter
aircraft in 14 years, the F-14 Tomcat, which replaces the
aging McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The war
continued in Vietnam. Navy and Marine Corps pilots
were being rescued, over land and at sea, by Search and
Rescue (SAR) helicopter crews.
1973. The Vietnam cease-fire was announced, and
U.S. forces start to withdraw. The Navy lost 529
fixed-wing aircraft and 13 helicopters, and the Marine
Corps lost 193 fixed-wing aircraft and 270 helicopters
in enemy actions. Operation
which provides for the repatriation of prisoners of war
The Blue Angels became the Navy Flight
Demonstration Squadron, located at Naval Air Station,
1974. The Navy receives its new highly advanced,
carrier-qualified, jet powered, turbofan S-3
antisubmarine warfare aircraft that works in tandem
with the SH-3 Sea King and SH-2 Seasprite helicopters
in locating and tracking submarines.
1976. The Navy's last operational HU-16 Albatross
antisubmarine warfare, and
C-117 Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft were stricken
from service. All arrived or departed NAS Pensacola,
Florida, and can be found at the Naval Aviation
Museum, Pensacola, Florida, or Davis Monthan Air
Force Base, Arizona, the boneyard for obsolete military
1979. Navy carrier forces and air wings responded
to five crisis situations around the world. USS
Constellation to a conflict between North and South
Yemen; USS Saipan during the Nicaraguan turmoil;
USS Nassau involved in response to Russian combat
troops in Cuba; USS Kitty Hawk on alert in Korea; USS
Kitty Hawk and USS Midway conduct contingence
operations during the Iranian hostage crisis.
As Naval Aviation approaches its "Diamond
Anniversary" decade, war erupts between Iraq and Iran
as U.S. carrier forces maintain their deployment cycles
in support of the Iranian crisis in the Arabian Sea,
provide humanitarian support to Cuban refugees in the
Caribbean, and defense capabilities for the Panama
Canal. An increase in new technology and research
produce new versions of the F/A-18 Hornet, SH-60
Seahawk, OV-10 Bronco, MH-53 Sea Stallion, and the
V-22 Osprey, a fixed-wing, tilt-rotor aircraft.
The first flight of the Space Shuttle
(Columbia), with an all-Navy crew, launched from
Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Combat amphibious assault operations
commence on the island of Grenada. Navy and Marine
Corps air support was provided by Carrier Air Wing Six
(CVW-6) aboard USS Independence.
1986. Naval aviation celebrates its 75th anniversary
while U.S. carrier forces attack Libyan targets with
HARM, Harpoon, and Shrike missiles. The F-14
Hornet, and A-6
conducted low-level bombing and fighter support for
established. The first of its kind, with a primary mission
of combat search and rescue (strike rescue) and special
warfare support. It operates the HH-60 Seahawk.
This decade begins with a "new world" order. The
collapse of the Soviet Union left the United States as
the world's only superpower. In the Middle East, Iraq
invades Kuwait, a massive armada of U.S. Naval and
Allied Forces converge on the region in support of
"Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm."
1991. The Navy launches massive aerial attacks
cruise missiles at predetermined
targets in Iraq and Kuwait. U.S. Naval, Marine Corps,
Air Force, and Allied aircraft of all types made a quick
and decisive blow to the Iraqi ground and air forces,
resulting in the liberation of Kuwait and the end of the
Persian Gulf War.
1992. The USS Lexington, the Navy's unsinkable
"Blue Ghost" of World War II, was decommissioned
and turned into a memorial museum ship. The Navy
takes delivery of its newest training aircraft, the T-45
Goshawk, which will replace the aging T-2 Buckeye and