Marines Prepare for F-35B Initial Operations with New Simulation and Logistics Technologies
A squadron at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma in Arizona serves as the tip of the spear to bring the F-35B into initial operations. Now, these Marines are sharpening their combat readiness with new F-35 training and logistics systems.
Pilots with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 are the first to train with four Full Mission Simulators linked together and running the latest Block 2B aircraft software. In the simulators, pilots rehearse missions in four-ship formations and hone their tactical employment of the F-35B against challenging ground and airborne threats.
With 2.8 million acres of training ranges and ideal flying weather, MCAS Yuma supports 80 percent of the Marine Corps’ air-to-ground aviation training. Live flying combined with the advanced F-35 simulators provide pilots with the range of experience required to maximize the F-35’s first-look, first-shot advantage. The F-35 Full Mission Simulator accurately replicates all sensors and weapons to provide a realistic mission rehearsal and training environment.
Additionally, Lockheed Martin delivered a deployable version of the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS. Housed within ruggedized transport cases, the equipment supports deployments on aircraft carriers and at remote operating locations. ALIS is the backbone of the F-35 fleet and turns a vast amount of data into actionable information that enables pilots, maintainers and military leaders to make proactive decisions and keep jets flying.
"As the Marine Corps supports the President's strategy to rebalance in the Pacific, we're bringing the most advanced technologies and capabilities of our force to the region with the F-35,” said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the Deputy Commandant for U.S. Marine Corps Aviation. “This capability enables our Corps to support regional partners during crises by empowering our forces to perform a wide range of missions across multiple domains.”
“All the pieces of the technology puzzle are coming together to support the Marines’ F-35 mission readiness,” said Mary Ann Horter, vice president of F-35 Sustainment Support at Lockheed Martin. “The Marines at Yuma are launching the future of aviation and our focus is supporting them with the most effective training and logistics technologies.”
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 is the first operational F-35B squadron and will undergo an independent inspection in July to gauge the squadron’s combat readiness. To date, more than 40 pilots and 350 maintainers for the Marine Corps have graduated from the F-35 Training System. By July, more than 50 F-35B pilots and 400 maintenance personnel for the Marines will be mission ready.
The F-35 Lightning II, a 5th generation fighter, combines advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Following the Marine Corps’ planned 2015 combat-ready Initial Operational Capability (IOC) declaration, the U.S. Air Force and Navy intend to attain service IOC in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
Read more about the Marines’ F-35B IOC preparations:
F-35 training system, logistic system ready for operations