Marine Corps Speeds Up F-35B Development

Marine Corps Speeds Up F-35B Development

The Marine Corps has made the first public announcement of an expected initial operations capability of 2015.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos made the announcement during a presentation May 29 at the Brookings Institution. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley last week said the service will issue a report detailing the operational start date to Congress in coming days.

“The definition of initial operational capability is 10 airplanes, 10 crews, a full maintenance suite that does all the training, all the trainers are all trained up on it,” Amos said. “They’ve been trained, both the pilots and the aircrews, to do the missions of the airplane and they are ship board qualified.”

The Air Force and Marine Corps will fly different variants of the F-35. The Marine Corps will fly the short take off and landing version of the F-35, which will allow pilots to hover before landing much like a Harrier jet.

The Marine Corps stood up its first operational squadron at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. Marine Strike Fighter Squadron All Weather-121 converted from F/A-18 Hornets to the Joint Strike Fighter in November 2012. Even though IOC is defined with 10 aircraft, Amos confirmed that the Marine Corps plans for the squadron to fly 16 aircraft.

Amos’ announcement comes after the Pentagon released a report that the price of the Joint Strike Fighter program is slightly dropping. The cost to build the 2,475 F-35 Lightning IIs has dropped by 1 percent to $391 billion.

Amos spent time at the Brookings event explaining the mission sets in which the F-35B would be most effective. He used examples when the Corps flew their Harrier jets to support missions in the Gulf of Aden region, which includes countries such as Somalia and Yemen.

The Marine four-star also hinted that the F-35B could have had a role in Afghanistan and Iraq highlighting that the Harrier flew missions during the initial attack on Baghdad and air support missions during its deployment to Helmand, Afghanistan. Notably, the F-22, the Defense Department’s first fifth generation fighter, didn’t fly a combat mission over Iraq or Afghanistan.

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Michael, the Marines do not operate any Super Hornets (only the Navy does) so Marine Strike Fighter Squadron All Weather-121 could not have been flying Super Hornets; they probably flew an earlier F/A-18 Hornet model.


Correct, the –D Hornet.

Until they are out in the fleet serving on amphibs and ready to drop bombs or dogfight this means nothing.

Means something to you now if you are a taxpayer…

Have the trainers who train the trainers been trained by trained trainers? Who trains them?

The Marine Corps stood up its first operational squadron at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. Marine Strike Fighter Squadron All Weather-121 converted from F/A-18 Super Hornets to the Joint Strike Fighter in November 2012. Even though IOC is defined with 10 aircraft, Amos confirmed that the Marine Corps plans for the squadron to fly 16 aircraft.
Marine Corps does not fly f-18 super hornets

Strange they are replacing F-18s not AV-8Bs right away. Withe exRAF Harriers coming into USMC service they may fly alot longer compared to old F-18C/Ds in Marines service. Dont matter the B version is a worthless light weight fighter this prove Amos is not the sharpest KA BAR knife in the corps waste money on cutting troops then waste more on this crap and the AAV boondoggle. Brass need to go back to school for math or something.

PS scrap this crap make the USMC adopt Super Hornets thats alot more effective than JSF.

What’s even more hilarious about this is that Lockheed and the USMC lied about the F-35B’s exhaust not affecting the flight deck of the amphib. In fact the new list of modifications needed for the flight deck is fairly extensive: http://​elpdefensenews​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​3​/​0​5​/​l​m​-​usm

Is there a chart that compaires the specifications / performance of the F-35B to the F/A-18 C/D/E/F?

Title of the article is totally misleading, the development is going as slow as always. The Marines are doing a PR stunt by declaring IOC early with much less capability than originally planned and much more risk (limited flight envelope, barely any weapons…_). As discussed above, they aren’t replacing AV-8Bs because they really aren’t going to be operationally capable of doing that. That fact basically says it all.

“PS scrap this crap make the USMC adopt Super Hornets thats alot more effective than JSF. ”

So, genius, how do you propose the Super Hornet be modified to operate from the decks of LHAs/LHDs? What will it cost and how long will it take?


The F-35 Energy-Management diagrams, which display an aircraft’s energy and maneuvering performance within its airspeed range and for different load factors, are similar to the F/A-18

So it’s a much better match than the Harrier.

“(only the Navy does)”

And the RAAF.

Eric Palmer?!?!


Since they had to scrape out the dock from the America class in order to effectively operate F-35Bs, it’s a simple matter to stop building LHAs and just operate Marine tac air off of real carriers.

Lul, thanks.

Test pilots.

Dogfight? Not likely against peer level adversary. Phone booth knife fighters are easy targets from outside of the phone booth. With modern air to air missiles exceeding 30g in turns, exceeding mach 3, and exhibiting probability of kill that exceeded 80% a couple of decades ago, it is a brave idiot who enters a knife fight in a phone booth against a peer level adversary, where neither can break off because he cannot gain enough distance before the other guy sends a missile up his arse, while both remain vulnerable to any other lurking outside of the phone booth shooting into it.

Wow what a great ceative comment. Just goes to show why all of us smart people are building and testing 5th Generation aircraft. BTW the JCS and KPP’s were given to LM Aero, NGC, and BAE by the DOD i.e. Marines, Navy, Air Force, and foreign services! We build to the spec provided.

It would not be a bad idea to put Marines in –C’s and fly them from CVN’s. Not all Marine support will be from amphibs.

Still need a few –B’s though.

After the whole Bastion thing, I imagine they no longer have enough Harrier slack to simply terminate Harrier units.

dont need them or the prblom prone F-35B use a new Harrier variant.

I was using the term loosely, but I meant capable of air-to-air combat.

The F-35 design specification described a jet that had the maneuvering/range/payload of an F-18C carrying external tanks and weapons. It came out pretty close to that, give or take. Of course the F-35B has less range because it has less internal fuel and carries around an extra lift engine as dead weight. The short story of similar performance between the 18 and 35 are: a) the F-35 does it clean with internal weapons and all internal fuel, b) a clean F-18 with only wingtip missiles and internal gun has much higher point performance and a larger envelope. The “similar to and F-18″ is true, and it is not. I think it is a diplomatic answer by a pilot who knows the question is a hot potato. It would have only taken one follow-up question to establish the actual non-similarity and intent to deceive. Yes, its better than a Harrier, but it is also twice the empty weight. I hope they really need this thing, because it is going to cost them dearly. They may need to give up something else.

The Harrier was never supposed to be the best aircraft ever either. It was supposed to be a light, cheap STOVL multirole fighter, something it is still good at. Two years have passed, and performance on the F-35 has slipped a bit. With the current costs, the F-35B costs over 6.5 times the price of the Harrier (AV-8B Plus) and nearly 3 times the empty weight. The issue with comparing the Harrier to the F-35, is that while both are STOVL, they are very different aircraft designed for quite a different purpose.

I suppose that’s the price for insisting on a supersonic fighter that can STO/VL.

more effective? any 4th gen AC will explode into scrap before they are even aware an F35 is in theater.

F-35B does not carry a separate engine to power the lift fan, rather that lift fan is powered by a shaft from the front of the F135, the same F135 that also provides thrust for forward flight.


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