US Navy and USMC prepare to deploy F-35B aircraft


The US Navy and the US Marine Corps (USMC) are preparing for the deployment of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, which is currently slated for next year.

Commander, US Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT) co-hosted the Joint Strike Fighter Sustainment Summit in collaboration with the Marine Corps Forces, Pacific at COMPACFLT headquarters as part of the preparations.

The summit saw the attendees focus on planning and preparing the logistical support for the first deployment of the F-35B.

US Pacific Fleet Logistics, Fleet Supply and Ordnance director rear admiral John Palmer said: “The summit was primarily built to maximise communication, elevate problems, and arrive at solutions.

“This aircraft has a unique maintenance and support structure, and it is unlike any aviation weapon system presently in the navy and Marine Corps inventories.”

Palmer further noted that deployment of the aircraft will require focused efforts by all stakeholders in order to ensure that sufficient logistics resources are available to support the launch of the fleet, including funding, spares, tools, support equipment, information systems support and training.

Palmer added: “The aircraft and engine are large and require keen planning for hangar and flight-deck spotting and storage.

“The best strategy for overcoming the Joint Strike Fighter roll-out challenge is to engage in continuous communications across all stakeholders.”

"This aircraft has a unique maintenance and support structure, and it is unlike any aviation weapon system presently in the navy and Marine Corps inventories."

Ten F-35B jets have been delivered to the fleet after reaching an initial operational capability.

The F-35B is a supersonic short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) stealth aircraft designed and developed to operate from austere bases and a wide range of air-capable vessels near front-line combat zones.

In addition, the aircraft can take off and land conventionally at major bases using longer runways.

The F-35B will be deployed to replace the AV-8B Harrier and F / A-18 Hornet aircraft.


Image: US Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 refuelling teams refuel a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 F-35B Lightning II during a joint forward area refuelling point joint training exercise. Photo: courtesy of Senior Airman Omari Bernard.