Marines’ Deadly Fighter Jet to Make its First Ship-Based Deployment Next Year
The Marine Corps' version of the joint strike fighter's maiden deployment is set for late 2017 and its bound for the Western Pacific, the Navy's top officer in the Pacific said Tuesday.
The F-35B jump-jet stealth fighter will deploy aboard an amphibious flattop, enhancing its combat might, and the service is planning a more powerful escort force to support it, according to Adm. Scott Swift, head of Pacific Fleet.
The F-35B was declared operational in July 2015 and testing continues ahead of next year's debut. PACFLT spokesman Lt. Clint Ramsden confirmed it would be the aircraft's first time to be based aboard a ship for a deployment, which typically lasts from a few months up to an eight-month cruise.
A surface action group, like the three-destroyer group dispatched mid-April to the Western Pacific, will defend the amphibious assault ship.