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US Marines Declare New Stealth Fighter Combat Operational

The United States Marine Corps announced this past weekend that, after 14 years of development and more than $390 billion spent in research and development, the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter is operational, according to a Military.com press release.

The fighter plane is a fifth-generation stealth jet which which features maneuverability and vertical take-off and landing capabilities that will eventually lead to the phasing out of F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers.

Military organizations are prepared to purchase the new uber-lethal toy. The Marines want to buy 420 of the more than 2,000 planes slated to roll off out of Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing plants. The Pentagon was quoted by The Washington Post as saying they were unsure how many planes they would buy, but that the number would most likely be less than the initial estimate of 2,852.

Marine Corps Commandant Joseph Dunford broke the news to Congress, then to the general public. He was excited about the “initial operational capability” of the fighter plane because it gives the U.S. military “its first fifth-generation strike fighter.”

The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our nation with its first 5th generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win.

Though the fighter plane’s technology and capability is dazzling, The Washington Post wrote that there are a “legion of critics” who think the price tag for the planes might be a little too high.

Those critics also say that by the time the development is fully completed and rolled-out, the plane’s technology will be 30 years old.

The fighter, the most expensive weapons system ever procured by the Pentagon, still faces questions from its legion of critics.

Production of the aircraft, one official was quoted as saying, will cost the United States between $12 and $15 billion for the next 20 years.

Other politicians have questioned the plane’s reliability record.

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