The Marine Corps’ Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will accept the stealth of a fifth-generation fighter and a weapons burden before a fourth-generation fighter by the time a software advancement is accessible for fielding in 2017, the Marines’ top aviator said this week.
The aircraft’s adeptness to alternating amid accessing contested areas and deliverying abundant blaze ability based on the needs of any accustomed action “I anticipate for our adversaries will be absolutely worrisome, for us should be a antecedent of abundant comfort,” Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said Wednesday at an accident cohosted by the Center for Strategic and All-embracing Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute.
“No added aeroplane can go from fifth to fourth and aback to fifth again. I’m affairs pylons for the airplane. I get the pylons in 3F software, which comes in 2017. [With the pylons] I can amount up an F-35B with about 3,000 pounds added ammunition than I can put on an F-18 appropriate now,” Davis said.“So I can accept an aeroplane that does fifth-generation being for the aperture blast of the fight. Aback I accept to go to akin of effort, I can amount the pylons on, amount ammunition on there, do akin of effort, appear back, captain to addition allotment of the world, booty the pylons off and go do the fifth-generation affair again. … It offers us amazing adequacy for the Marine Corps that’s activity to accept one type/model/series aircraft that can go fourth and fifth gen, accord us that fighter capability, accord us that advance adequacy that we charge in the out years.”
F-35 Lightning II Program Office agent Joe DellaVedova told USNI News that the F-35 was advised to be accordant both on Day 1 of a action and Day 365 of a fight. To that end, the casework bare to advantage the stealth adequacy that the Air Force already had in its Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber, as able-bodied as the blaze ability Marines bare to abutment their Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).
The low-observable architecture of the F-35B, aback larboard unaltered, would acquiesce the Marines to into anti-access/area-denial airspace, booty out the chip air aegis arrangement and added high-value targets with its 4,000 pounds of ammunition in the centralized weapons bay, and leave. Once the pylons are accessible in 2017 to be added to the exoteric of the plane, “after you annihilate the enemy’s air aegis system…then that F-35 can be loaded up like a acceptable bequest fighter and become an 18,000 bomb truck, aback you don’t accept to await on the low-observability any more,” DellaVedova said. The pylons optimize the F-35B for close-air support, anti-air missions and more.
DellaVedova said testing for the pylons and development of the blow of the 3F software advancement amalgamation is ongoing. The Marines’ accepted 2B software allows them to backpack two air-to-ground weapons and one air-to-air weapon internally: the 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Advance Munition (JDAM), the 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb and the AIM-120C Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
The 3F software advancement will accompany the alien weapons pylons, 4.1 or 4.2 will accompany the all-weather Small Diameter Bomb, and in the approaching the Marine Corps will attending to acclimate adopted weapons acclimated by ally in the all-embracing JSF project, Davis told USNI News aftermost month.
Davis fabricated bright at Wednesday’s accident that the F-35B with its accepted 2B software agreement can handle arduous blackmail environments today.
“Bottom line, [Marine Fighter Advance Squadron] VMFA 121 aloof did an Operational Readiness Inspection to get them accessible to argue us that they were absolutely absolutely accessible to go be declared antecedent operational capable, and they did a absurd job in the boycott mission we had them do, and the arresting adverse air, the abhorrent adverse air, the aing air abutment and the armed reconnaissance,” Davis said“The armed assay one was the best absorbing one. We gave them a absolutely high-end blackmail ambiance to go against, and commonly to go do aing air abutment and armed assay you appetite to be able to get into a affectionate of low-threat ambiance to go out there and attending for targets. … We gave them difficult targets to find, and we additionally gave them a difficult blackmail that in my world, as [former controlling administrator and advantageous administrator of Marine Aviation Weapons & Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1)], would be a prohibitive threat. They went out there, they activate those targets, they dealt with that, and they came back.”
Now that VMFA 121 anesthetized the ORI and Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford declared antecedent operational adequacy for the platform, the Marines will activate the apathetic action of continuing bottomward squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets, EA-6B Prowlers and AV-8B Harriers, and continuing up squadrons of JSFs. All active-duty squadrons will be stood up by 2031, with the Marines affairs 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs.
The Marines “intend to abstract best amount and account activity out of our Harriers, Hornets and Prowlers,” Davis said in a statement, but the four actual Prowler squadrons will be short-lived, with the Marine Corps backward one a year alpha aing year. Though a final accommodation on Harriers and Hornets won’t be fabricated until 2019, the account expects that the Harrier squadrons will alteration by 2026 and the Hornets by 2030.
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