VMFA-121Out on Flight Line and Ready to Fly Off
As the jet
engines roared, mirage lines from their exhaust matched with the intense
heat of the Yuma summer, the Marines of VMFA-121 were happy to show
their machines after marking a major milestone with the F-35B on Friday.
"It's like going from a Ford Escort to a Mercedes," said Maj. Michael "Snooki" O'Brien, pilot training officer for VMFA-121. "It's more like a Ferrari."
The "Ferrari" that O'Brien was referring to, the F-35B II Lightning Joint Strike Fighter, had just had 10 of its kind within the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma based-squadron receive Initial Operations Capability on Friday from Headquarters United States Marine Corps.
The jet is filled with technology that improves its aerodynamics, operations capabilities and the safety of its pilots.
"You've heard about its radar evading stealth technology, and a lot of that is visual and has to do with the way the jet is built," said O'Brien. "That's really all that I can say about that."
In addition to these capabilities it has a digital aperture system of six cameras that enables the pilot to get views from the outside of the plane while in the cockpit. It also has a targeting pod underneath the aircraft with infrared capabilities enabling it to see targets on the ground as well as in the air.