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Carl Vinson heading to San Diego after maintainers retrofit carrier for F-35s

The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson left Bremerton, Washington, Sunday and began sea trials following 17 months of maintenance at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard that readied the carrier to take on the F-35C Lightning II fighter jet, the Navy announced.

After sea trials, Carl Vinson, its sailors and families will make the move to a new home port in San Diego, joining the carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the recently arrived Abraham Lincoln there.

Carl Vinson’s maintenance began in February 2019 and featured a complete restoration and system retrofit to accommodate the F-35.

Upgrades were also made to combat systems, electrical systems and crew living spaces, while the ship’s hulls, rudders and shafts also received some maintenance attention, according to the Navy.

Before leaving Bremerton, the crew underwent COVID-19 prevention measures that included two weeks of movement restriction prior to embarking the ship, mandatory face coverings, routine COVID-19 testing and social distancing.

“I am proud of all the hard work and dedication shown by the entire crew throughout the (maintenance availability) — and particularly with the added challenges we faced during this pandemic,” Capt. Matthew Paradise, the carrier’s commanding officer, said in a statement.

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