Thursday, September 27, 2018

F-35B in the Gulf Of Aden...

GULF OF ADEN (Sept. 22, 2018) – An F-35B Lightning II, attached to the “Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, launches from the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a regularly scheduled deployment of Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Essex ARG and 13th MEU is the first U.S. Navy/Marine Corps team to deploy to U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations with the transformational warfighting capabilities of the F-35B Lightning II, making it a more lethal, flexible and persistent force, leading to a more stable region for our partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jenna Dobson)
Everyone is all abuzz about the possibility of USMC F-35B's cutting their teeth in battle. 

My question.

Where are the pylons?  Are they going to go full internal?  If so does that mean that they will forgo self defense missiles in their loadout? 

My expectation?

I would think we'd see sidewinders on pylons at the very least and the internals filled with SDBs.  Barring that that means they're carry what...1000 pound bombs?  To destroy huts in Somalia?

I've stated that the F-35B is the only model that offers a step ahead of the plane it replaces (the Harrier), but the focus has been on everything but delivering bombs to target. 

It irks that we hear recon, surveillance, fleet defense, acting as a sensor node...everything but what the Marine Corps Aviation has always specialized in...putting steel on target in support of the ground force.

We will hear much in the next few days about how the F-35B has "proven" itself in battle.  The chest thumping will be loud and obscene.  I simply ask you to take a look at the target, the threat and how many munitions were dropped.

Despite what you'll hear from supporters from this plane its still in the walk, not run stage of life...and this is after almost two decades in development.  No matter how you slice it this program is the biggest boondoggle in Pentagon history and our children will pay the price for the hubris of those in charge.

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