Yesterday was one of the biggest single days of the year on the airshow fan calendar; the release of the military schedules for the 2020 show season. One of the most common questions we saw from fans is what about the Navy?
Outside of the Blue Angels, the Navy’s airshow representation has been a bit of a mess for the last few years. Due to budget and maintenance issues, they have supported just a handful of F-18 Super Hornet demonstrations each season. This past year they at least expanded the Legacy Flight program, which was only resurrected in 2018, to include new units and spread the load. Going back even further, the Navy has never really been part of the big ICAS schedule release, so it was not a shock to see nothing from them. However, we do have some updates on the 2020 Navy Tacdemo outlook!
Thanks to a session hosted at the convention, we know that the Navy plans to support 42 single-ship demonstrations and/or Legacy Flights at 2020 airshows where the Blue Angels are not already performing, with the exception of NAS Oceana since it is VFA-106’s home base. The schedules are pending approval, and the number can obviously change from the plan during the approval process.When will the schedule be released? That’s anyone’s guess but we won’t start hoping for it until February or so and it could definitely be later than that.
We also learned that there will be both East and West Coast Super Hornet representation; VFA-106 (NAS Oceana, Virginia) will perform full demonstrations while VFA-122 (NAS Lemoore, California) will fly Super Hornets in Legacy Flights. Both teams are expected to fly the two-seat F/A-18F model.
In keeping with some very widely circulated rumors this year, the Navy is also planning to debut an F-35C Lightning II demonstration team in 2020! This team will be based at NAS Lemoore (flown by VFA-125) and while it will not do a full-up demo, it will get some extra passes beyond a regular Legacy Flight. This is a big step toward fielding a more complete demonstration with the Navy’s newest fighter jet.
Tailhook Legacy Flights will also continue in 2020, but it remains to be seen what aircraft types will participate. We certainly hope that the EA-18G Growlers, T-45 Goshawks, and T-6 Texan IIs continue to perform as it offers a rare chance to see these aircraft at shows.
Stay tuned to AirshowStuff for further Tacdemo developments, and make sure to check our airshow calendar page for the full list of 2020 airshows and performer schedules in one convenient spot!