U.S. Marines Sending Engine Module to Ship as Part of F-35 Testing
The U.S. Marine Corps is
"tracking very well" toward declaring a squadron of 10 F-35 jets
built by Lockheed Martin Corp ready for initial combat
use by July 15, Lieutenant General Jon Davis, the top general in
charge of Marine Corps aviation, said on Tuesday.
In a step toward that goal, the Marine Corps will use an MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft to transport part of the engine of the F-35 fighter jet to the USS Wasp amphibious ship during two weeks of testing that began Monday, Davis said.
"Unless something really weird happens, I think we'll be fine," he told reporters. He said he would not recommend the move until after a two-week operational readiness inspection showed the squadron was ready.
Six U.S. F-35B fighter jets landed on the USS Wasp on Monday, a milestone for the $391 billion F-35 fighter jet program as it nears the July declaration of "initial operational capability," or IOC. [ID:nL1N0Y92BV}
Davis said he would observe the testing during a trip to the USS Wasp, operating off the coast of Virginia, on Wednesday.
He will determine how easily the jets can be maneuvered around the flight deck and how well they can be repaired at sea, including possible work on the jet's F135 engine, built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.