Marine Corps forms new fighter jet squadron

The Marine Corps is forming the first squadron of pilots to fly the next-generation strike fighter jet, months after lawmakers raised concern that there was a rush to end the testing of the aircraft that has had technical problems.
Associated Press
Nov 21, 2012

 

So far, two veteran pilots of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing have been trained to fly the F-35B. They are becoming the first members of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 that will debut Tuesday at a ceremony at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz.

The first F-35B arrived Friday, and 15 more are coming during the next year. The Defense Department has pumped a half a billion dollars into upgrading the facilities, hangars and runways at the base to make way for the supersonic fighter jet named Lightning II, officials said.

The squadron's pilots are expected to fly the aircraft by year's end.

The Marines are the first in the military taking the steps toward putting the planes in operation. The F-35B would replace Cold War-era aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier.

"It's a pretty big milestone that a lot of people are looking at and judging," said Marine Capt. Staci Reidinger, a spokeswoman at the Yuma base. "The lessons learned will be shared."

(Click the photo to see the jet fighter picture in full.)

Tuesday's inauguration comes only months after leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee suggested that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta rushed a decision to develop the Marine Corps version of the fighter jet.

In a letter sent in February to the Pentagon chief, Sens. Carl Levin, the committee chairman, and John McCain, the panel's top Republican, questioned whether the F-35B had met the criteria to warrant an end to its probation. The F-35B had been on a two-year probation because of "significant testing problems."

Levin, D-Mich., and McCain, R-Ariz., wrote that the program "has enjoyed some success over the last few months, after several years of having fallen short." But they said "more problems with the F-35B's structure and propulsion, potentially as serious as those that were originally identified a year ago, have been found. This is salient where the F-35B has completed only 20 percent of its developmental test plan to date. Your decision, therefore, appears at least premature."

Levin declined to comment on the squadron. McCain did not respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment.

The developer of the aircraft, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., is building three versions of the F-35 — one each for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and some foreign forces.

Schedule delays and cost overruns have dogged the F-35's development, making it the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program ever. Ten years in, the total F-35 program cost has jumped from $233 billion to an estimated $385 billion. Recent estimates suggest the entire program could exceed $1 trillion over 50 years.

Aviation safety consultant and retired Marine Corps Col. Pete Field, who served as the former director of the Naval Test Pilot School, said the Marine Corps' F-35B is the most complicated of the three versions because it can take off and land vertically in less than 500 feet of space, allowing it to be launched from small Navy ships and to drop down in confined areas.

One of the problems earlier on in its development was it was heavier than predicted, which would have compromised its unique ability to take off and land vertically, Field said.

It was lightened substantially, but Field said that could also mean structural problems in the long run.

"It remains to be seen if the F-35B has a long life and is structurally sound," said Field, who was the chief test pilot for the F/A-18. "We won't know for two to three years after it's been in operation. If nothing crops up, perhaps the engineers have done their best work."

Its sophisticated stealth capabilities mean that like the Air Force's F-22, the aircraft can fly into enemy territory without being detected by radar.

"All we can do is hope that they have solved all the program problems and that they've got a pretty good airplane," Field said.

Officials at Lockheed Martin Corp. say they have corrected the problems with the aircraft's structure and propulsion in the development phase. The fixes addressed cracking in the interior bulkhead and the inadequate fitting of doors atop the plane that open to allow extra air to reach the engines, among other issues.

There were no accidents or close calls by pilots testing the F-35B, said company spokesman Jack Giese.

The commanding officer of the new squadron, Lt. Col. Jeffrey B. Scott, said the F-35B will give the nation a "giant leap" in its strategic capabilities by being able to drop in quickly to remote trouble spots without the need of having to be launched from a big deck Navy ship. Since the F-35 variants share similarities, the aircraft also will unify the military's air power.

"It flies extremely well. It's got a lot of great capabilities and it is growing into those capabilities," he said, adding later: "If you look at the history of any aircraft during development, this has had no more problems than any other previous aircraft, and we have the engineering solutions."

 

Comments

luvblues2

Nothing good will come of this.

Contango

The Endless War.

Thomas Jefferson warned of "entangling alliances."

Pres. Eisenhower warned of the "military industrial complex."

Washington's bought and paid for politicos vote the funds to keep the U.S. war machine hummin'.

"And it's one, two, three, what are we fightin' for?"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x...

------------------------------

"We've always been at war with Eastasia" - "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

KnuckleDragger

Don't worry, their robbing from us military retirees to keep things going. 2 healthcare premium increases in one year for a 30% hike, and now they are throwing retirees off of the lower out of pocket expense HMO plan and on to the high deductible, high copay fee for service plan if you live more than 40 miles from a military hospital. Couple that with the fact that the COLAs are either non-existent, or paltry. Next thing they will get rid of is the retirees pension. What a great way of repaying those who served and fought the politicos wars for them and spent their prime earning years getting paid peanuts. Have you noticed that in all the budget deals not once is it mentioned that the politicians cut their pay or benefits? Look for them to give themselves another pay raise next year.

buckeye15

Who is their?

KnuckleDragger

Problems with reading comprehension skills?

buckeye15

Actually my comprehension skills are just fine. I was just questioning who you were referring too.

As a taxpayer, I think it is outrageous to not support service members and veterans with decent wages, health care, and pensions. I have no problem with paying a bit more taxes to do so.

So back to my question...who they are? From everything I have read, it is primarily Republicans who are trying to cut veterans benefits. I just hope you realize that.

Oh, and by the way, it should have been they're, not their. On Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the excellent public education I received to know the difference.

KnuckleDragger

Actually it is both. The only thing that both sides will agree to cut is Defense spending. The current wave of cuts that military retirees are experiencing in healthcare benefits were drawn up and approved in when Dems were in charge of both chambers. The additional cuts are coming out of the Republican controlled house. It makes no difference, they seem to think they are safe from scrutiny if they just hit the DOD. With the decreasing number of Americans (including Congress) who haven't served, many haven't a clue what cutting benefits to active and retired military will do. Apparently they don't care if history repeats itself. Google hollow force (armed forces). Doing this will only cause experienced soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to leave the service, resulting in a hollow force (meaning mostly inexperienced troops on their first hitch, with very little experience and leadership to oversee them). This is nothing but a short term fix that will result in a long term problem of decreased retention. The same thing happened in the 70s and it took more than a decade to recover. The military's Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned Congress about this, but they aren't listening. I've spoken personally with Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman, Bob Latta, and Marcy Kaptur. To be honest, and it was a surprise to me, the only one that seems to get it and seems genuinely committed to ensuring nothing is taken away from veteran's and military retirees is Sherrod Brown which is part of the reason he was one of the few Dems I voted for in the election. In a nutshell, by they I mean most of the politicians in Washington.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Before 1947 the air force was a branch of the army as the other services had their own air force.
I guess if the Air Force could land on carriers, we wouldn't need that any more.

KnuckleDragger

As has been more than proven in the past few wars, the Air Force was the deciding factor, and saved alot of good mens lives. Anyone advocating for its abolishment has mush for brains or knows little about modern warfare methods.

2cents's picture
2cents

Omg, (United States Army Air Corps)
My dad was in it.
http://412th.org:8088/index.htm

JACKEL

I was in Basic Training as a Private one day,an Airman Basic the next day,and an Airman 3rd Class the next week.Obviously it was right at change over in ranking.I am as big of supporter of The Air Force as there is,but we have gone beyond our needs.In outer space you can travel at Mach 30,in an A/C depending on cockpit pressure,suit's etc.mach 5 is about the limit.We have all the aircraft we need to handle the type warfare we could encounter today.Those middle east pilots will run before they lock on anyways.

OMG.LOL.WT_

In my opinion, if the Air Force is so great, why do the other branches of the service still need their own? Perhaps someone with less mush can answer.

Also what does the cost of health care have to do with it?

Randy_Marsh

The air force is in charge of heavy bombers, Most aerial recon along with NORAD (The actual missles). The other branches while having a air dept helps ground tactic where the air force cannot reach. Say a invasion heads more than 1500 miles inland the airforce cannot lend on demand support as the navy and marine units can.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Sound like the way a bureaucrat would answer. Same way they would explain why we needed a Dept. of Homeland security instead of letting the CIA and the FBI handle it.

Randy_Marsh

It is a huge bureacracy, The Air Force is a major part of our defense system though. If they were combined with the navy the funding would be cut to build more ships, If combined with the Amry again they would cut funding for more ground based equipment, ect ect. Keeping them seperate avoids conflictions of funding and training for specialties.
BTW the CIA is not allowed to work within the US, That is the realm of the FBI. DHS is there to help them communicate and compile intel but they have expanded to almost 20 times the size of either of those two depts. We really do not need a DHS, We need a president and cabinent that will communicate with each other. We fought the cold war for 50 years with everything working fine, Then its over and they can no longer communicate? The president should lead and keep his minions in line, If he needs a entire dept to try to sift through things he is not doing his job and making his dept work.

KnuckleDragger

Actually in addition to what you mentioned, the AF provides close air support for troops on the ground, moves nearly all the materials and equipment into the theater of operations to support the war, provides the vast majority of in theater intelligence, and provides the lead in cyber (computer) warfare. The other services have planes but they provide a very limited role. Naval aircrafts primary mission is protection of the naval fleet and bases.

@OMG, you seem to believe you know an awful lot for someone who likely has never served. Ask anyone who has served, whether it be Army, Marine, etc. how important the Air Force has been the past 20 yrs. Those troops on the ground are certainly thankful the AF exists. We may have different missions but we all work together as a well oiled machine toward the ultimate goal of defending our country and her ideals.

KnuckleDragger

Judging from your answer, you aren't aware of the capabilities of today's Air Force. The AF can provide short notice forward support, including bombers, logistics, fighters, and close air support anywhere in the world. Todays AF planes are so sophisticated that most of them cannot even be detected by the enemy until they have already done the damage and left the area.

Contango

@ OMG.LOL.WT_ writes:

"Why do the other branches of the service still need their own?"

Public and private jobs, prestige, tradition, inter-service rivalry, but mostly Congressional pork barrel spending which means - J-O-B-S.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Gee, I heard throughout the campaign, The government can't create jobs.

Contango

@ OMG.LOL.WT_:

So if you pay a member of your household to perform a task like mow the lawn, have you "created" a job?

Has the total monetary wealth of your household been enhanced or did you just shuffle money around?

BTW: Basel III is ruling that gold is equal to cash and bonds and is therefore money.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/...

KURTje

Here is why cont-ango is wrong. He admitted he is a non-vet. He has no experience.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.
Voltaire

shucks

"There are more horses asses than there are horses."
unknown

Contango

“Kill them all. God will recognize his own.”

- Arnaud Amalric, Cistercian monk (attributed)

Also,

The meek will inherit the Earth after the aggressive have killed one another.

- Anonymous.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

There were numerous "sons & daughters of gods" in Greco-Roman mythology.

http://www.biblegateway.com/pass...

shucks
Contango

@ 4shizzle:

Opinion is truth?

How can you possibly worship a god who is the product of a rape?

shucks

@ con
I hope that you are listening FULLY to to Dr.Lutzer, from your ex-town of Chicago.

shucks

On second thought, no , you aren't, because your response came too quickly.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

Yes!! Yes!! I listened and I have been Saved!!! It's a miracle. Oh thank you, thank you!!!

I believe in the bloody salvation brought to us by the god-man result of his Father's spiritual rape!!!!

http://bible.cc/luke/1-34.htm

I notice that the guy is grubbing for money - typical shyster.

shucks

Wow!How did you figure that out?

It's amazing how you lash out at everything.

Contango

Where in the Bible does it say that Mary was willing?

It's amazing that you are not capable of objective and empirical thought.

See: Iconoclast

shucks

?

Contango

It's a fairly simple question:

If Jesus wasn't the result of a rape, where is it written in the Bible that his Earthly mother was willing to be impregnated by his heavenly Father?

Luke validates my premise.

shucks

Does Mary sound unwilling or unhappy? The word rape doesn't really fit, does it?

http://www.biblegateway.com/pass...

http://www.biblegateway.com/pass...

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

Reads more like a fait accompli.

Besides, you wouldn't wanna disappoint God would you?

Heck, and then he even killed his own son.

With Isaac and Jacob, didn't God do away with human sacrifice?

shucks

I would like to know what religion/system of belief/system of thought you were born into?

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

Cradle Catholic, plus twelve yrs. of formal Notre Dame indoctrination in elementary and secondary school.

Over the yrs. I've studied comparative religions, various denominations and cults and read most of their texts.

So with Isaac, didn't God reject human sacrifice?

Face it: Christianity is a mishmash of Greco-Roman mythology and Semitic beliefs.

shucks

I was a 'cradle' Catholic too. 8 years of Catholic elementary school and an altar boy.

I ,like you, have studied comparative religions, various denominations and cults .

Is Notre Dame a Catholic college?

Contango

Nuns and priests who were of the order of Notre Dame.

I enjoyed the education, the religion in retrospect I coulda done without.

shucks

Ok, Catholic elementry and high school.
Yeah, Mass six days a week for starters.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

Yes, as I wrote: Elementary and secondary school.

You're not a college graduate are you?

shucks

No ,I am not.

shucks

Are you?

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

It doesn't show?

BGSU, BA: Political Science major, History minor. Think of it as a liberal arts education.

shucks

You do sound intelligent--I didn't see religion in that line- up.

shucks

@ con

Did you admire Joseph Campbell?

I'm not trying to dodge your questions,quote:

So with Isaac, didn't God reject human sacrifice?

Face it: Christianity is a mishmash of Greco-Roman mythology and Semitic beliefs.
-------------------------------------------------------------
but your Catholic teaching and your history education should have answered your questions.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

But you are nevertheless "dodging my questions." I'm not surprised.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

- Hamlet (1.5.166-7)

shucks

@ contango

Since this is your conclusion/premise :
"Face it: Christianity is a mishmash of Greco-Roman mythology and Semitic beliefs."
Why should I bother?

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

You shouldn't. But you won't consider the non-Biblical historical evidence concerning it's origins.

Except for quoting the Bible, you can "prove" nothing. And you won't question it - dogma.

H*ll, outside the Bible, there's no proof that Jesus the man-god even existed.

Paul never even met him, but instead "channeled" him.

Glad for you that you've got the workings of the entire universe all figured out in a nice, neat comfortable package.

shucks

@ con

You are making me believe in Calvinism.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

"Make you"? Reads co-dependent.

Good thing that Luther questioned huh?

I'll just keep asking the questions and you can just keep "dodging." OK?

Don't think for yourself, just continue to run to your Bible or the Moody Bible Inst. for the "answers."

shucks

Your study in faith and spirituality has come up bankrupt.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

History for one is splattered with religion.

Also, a liberal arts education requires taking electives like philosophy, etc.

Besides, it's what you learn after graduation that's important. College just helps to give ya the tools to learn and ask questions.

I may have read some Campbell, but I did see the PBS series decades ago.

About the last person I read was the "anti-guru," U.G. Krishnamurti.

shucks

Amazing

Randy_Marsh

Can i hear a h#ll yeah for Zoroastrianism!!!

shucks

@marsh
Do you feel comfortable to talk religion now?

Randy_Marsh

@4Shizzle
No I Dont, I figured I would give you both a reason to lighten up and dismiss the religion talk before it got heated and hurtful things were said that were irreparable. Its my way of throwing a little humor in the middle so you guys can walk away with a laugh.

luvblues2

They had better watch their words very closely, before Second Opinion comes in here and smacks the both of them upside the head with one of those real big thick Bibles with leather binding....LOL

shucks

Second Opinion?

KnuckleDragger

I've gotta thicker one, it has the old/new testament plus the Book of Mormon all rolled into one. You can get it will hurt alot more than King James version. LOL

goofus

What a bunch of maroons!!!

OMG.LOL.WT_

It's spelled morons

luvblues2

Not according to Bugs Bunny.

Erie County Resident

It's ok luv he didn't get the text from Obozo explaining it .. LOL

OMG.LOL.WT_

Sticks and Stones
May bruise my bones
But words will
Never hurt me.

Must have missed bugs bunny course when I went to school.

luvblues2

Betcha didn't miss the Scooby Doo course, though. "ruh, ro"

Randy_Marsh

So we now have religion, The military and cartoons on one article. When is someone going to introduce food and fashion into this orgy of randomness?

Contango

@ Randy_Marsh:

Ah come on. Just havin' a little fun with the ol' Bible thumper. Maybe I can turn he/she to the dark side as Beelzebub has commanded me. :)

Randy_Marsh

@Contango
I know But i was seriously hoping someone would mention food as I am hungry and at a crossroads on where to eat and trollin for hints, That and i am at a complete loss for what to buy as to fashion because i am pretty sure my 26 year old daughter isnt into Justine Bieber LOL!

Contango

@ Randy_Marsh:

We cook and seldom eat out.

Our daughter, who's a little bit older than yours asked for a slingbox, perfume and cash.

"Nothing says you love me quite like cash." - Me

Randy_Marsh

@Contango
LOL! I will take it under advisement, Thanks!

luvblues2

A short story. I came downstairs at this time of year back in '98 with sweatpants and a hoody, sox and slippers... It was hot as heck and I let the dog out AND it was cold outside. There sits my daughter typing on the computer with boxers and a tank top. I looked at the thermostat and it read 87 degrees F. I was like, WHAT!? She said it was cold... I said it's freakin' November in Ohio girl! Of course it's cold. Go put some freakin' clothes on!!! (she was 16 at the time)

luvblues2

*

luvblues2

*

shucks

@ contango
So you have a man crush on Beelzebub?
Good to know.

shucks

@ contango
Actually, your responses reinforce my belief in God's word aka.bible.

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

And based on a number of your responses and the lack thereof, you've proven that you are not a Christian.

shucks

@ contango

That's your unqualified opinion.

Contango

Not according to your man-god.

http://bible.cc/matthew/7-5.htm

shucks

Really,what have I done that didn't please you?

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

If you are indeed a "Christian," I gotta wonder why that you haven't weighed in on the gay moms story?

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

http://bible.cc/leviticus/20-13.htm

shucks

.

shucks

@ con

Sounds like you believe everything you hear.
Reminds me of the band called "Simple Minds"

Contango

@ 4shizzle:

I enjoyed their tune in the "The Breakfast Club." (Filmed at Maine North.)

As I understood, Bryan Ferry was to perform it but declined. IMO, the song was perfect for him.

Have a nice day Pork Chop.

shucks

@ con
Later, Smiley

luvblues2

LMAO...

goofus

That and the one that relies on common sense and maturity! Tact is not what you use to keep your house pictures on your bulletin board.

OMG.LOL.WT_

Oh, now you want to exhibit tact and common sense and maturity???????
O.K. Maroon! Take that! Yna, Yna, What's up Doc?

goofus

So sad!!!!!

OMG.LOL.WT_

Yes, goofus, it is sad. You can call people maroons and our POTUS Obozo and that's OK. Don't be sad. Just mark it inappropriate and SR will probably remove it.

goofus

So very sad!!!

goofus

I will agree to give Obozo all respect that the loony left gave to GW Bush!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KURTje

4shizzle; one poster said "I ain't a Christian." Never belonged to MENSA either. Wisdom always trumps knowledge. Realize also you could have better discourse with a balloon than him.

shucks

kURTje
Thanks,you're right; patch work knowledge without wisdom or understanding. Well there's one thing he and the balloon have in common---they're both filled with hot air. I should have talked to the balloon.

OMG.LOL.WT_

How an article about Marine fighter planes morphed into religion, I don't understand, but has anyone considered the FSM church?
http://www.venganza.org/

Contango

@ OMG.LOL.WT_:

The Church of the SubGenius is fun too:

http://www.subgenius.com/