F-35B Fighter Jets: Initial Squadron Declared Combat Ready

F-35B Stealth Fighter

The first batch of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35B fighter jets have been declared ready for combat by U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford.

The arrival of the new fighter jets, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, comes years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, The Washington Post reports. The declaration came more than five years after it was originally predicted back in 2001.

Since its onset, the $400 billion program has been engulfed in controversy and often criticism, but all the same, they’re finally here and according to the Marines, they’re ready to be unleashed.

One noteworthy characteristic of the stealth supersonic F-35 fighter, which is also known as the Lightning II, is its ability to land like a helicopter. Between its helicopter-like landings and its ability to take off from warships as well as aircraft carriers, its “ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers” has the ability to provide the U.S. “with its first fifth-generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win,” Dunford indicated in a statement.

The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our nation with its first fifth-generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win

The Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lieutenant General Jon Davis indicated that the initial squadron of fighters met all of the requirements necessary for a declaration of operational readiness to be issued after having undergone a recent operational readiness review, Reuters reports.

The Marine model of the F-35, the F-35B, is the most complex of the three variants created for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

According to Bloomberg, the Air Force version is expected to see its own operational readiness declaration come 2016 and the Navy is expected to declare theirs ready in either late 2018 or early 2019.

Byron Callan, a director of Capital Alpha Partners, was quoted by The Washington Post as having said that the recently reached milestone with the Marine variant “is a positive step.”

Like all these major weapons systems sometimes, you just want to see them walk in a straight line and not fall off the curb (…) Hitting this milestone, which they’ve been talking about for months, if not years, is a positive step. But is it going to fundamentally alter the perceptions of the program? I’d say no.

What do you think of the multi-billion dollar F-35 fighter jet program and its recently reported success?

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