Thu, May 24, 2012
New Fighter To Replace Legacy Aircraft
The Marine Corps' fifth generation fighter, the F-35B Lightning II, made its first flight at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Tuesday, signaling the start of the next era of Marine Aviation on the cusp of last weekend's Centennial of Marine Aviation celebrations in Washington D.C.
The F-35B Lightning II is the Marine Corps' Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft that enables forces to operate in harsh conditions and remote locations where few airfields are available for conventional aircraft. The STOVL variant also enables the F-35B to operate from amphibious ships - a capability that is unique to the F-35B and the aging Harrier.
The F-35B is part of the Marine Corps' ongoing effort to modernize its aging fleet of aircraft and to take advantage of fifth generation technology that will greatly enhance its ability to meet the Marines' expeditionary operating requirements at sea and ashore. The F-35B will replace three legacy aircraft - F/A-18 Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, and AV-8B Harrier - saving the Department of Defense approximately $1 billion in legacy operations and maintenance costs. (File photo F-35B delivery to Eglin)
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