Avalon 2017: F-35 Transforming US Marine Corps’ Aviation Capabilities

IHS Jane's 360 // March 01, 2017

The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is transforming the aviation combat capabilities of the US Marine Corps (USMC), with early simulated trials showing unprecedented levels of mission success compared with legacy platforms, a senior service official noted on 28 February.

Speaking at the Avalon Airshow on the outskirts of Melbourne, the deputy commandant of USMC aviation, Lieutenant General Jon 'Dog' Davis, said that combat exercises that have involved the F-35B have shown the fifth-generation platform to be superior in just about every facet of capability when compared with older types still being fielded.

"I have never seen capability like the F-35B. For years in training we have been getting our butts kicked - losing half of our aircraft and missing the targets as [those that did survive] manoeuvred to avoid fighters and surface-to-air missiles. Now we are getting all of our F-35Bs in and out of the target area, and we are crushing the target. We are seeing kill ratios of 24:0 [in favour of the F-35B], and we are not losing any of our aircraft at all," Lt Gen Davis said.

The lieutenant general, a former McDonnell Douglas AV-8 Harrier II pilot, noted that the USMC's experience of the F-35B's capabilities is similar to that being reported by the US Air Force (USAF) for its F-35As at the recent Red Flag exercise in Nevada, in which a kill ratio of 15:1 was declared (Lt Gen Davis commented that further analysis has shown the actual ratio to be 15:0).

Read the full article from IHS Jane's 360.