The F-35B, used by United States Marine Corps, is ready to fight says Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation. He declared the F-35B ready for action Friday at a think tank event.

“There were a lot of people out here that said, ‘Hey, the Marines are just going to declare IOC [initial operational capability] because it would be politically untenable not to do that,” Davis said at an event Friday at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, D.C. “IOC in the Marine Corps means we will deploy that airplane in combat.”

The Marine Corps’ first F-35B squadron is expected to arrive in Japan in January. They will then go to sea with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in the spring of 2018. The service’s second F-35B squadron is expected to go to sea in the summer of 2018.

It has been a long time since the F-35 was declared to have breached Nunn-McCurdy back in 2009. The Nunn-McCurdy Act requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to Congress whenever a Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) experiences cost overruns. Officials must constantly estimate the cost of programs and compare it to the estimate of the cost when the program started. Programs that exceed certain statutory thresholds are said the have a “Nunn-McCurdy breach”.

F-35Bs, assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Az., sit on the flightline during Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev on July 12, 2016. US Air Force Photo
F-35Bs, assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Az., sit on the flightline during Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev on July 12, 2016. US Air Force Photo

The F-35B has recently been at Nellis Air Force Base participating in Red Flag.  Six jets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 from MCAS Yuma ran through full up exercises and apparently performed well. VMFA-121 is the military’s first operational F-35 squadron. The Green Knights are in the work up process prior to deployment to MCAS Iwakuni this winter.

On a related note, the USAF is expected to announce IOC for the F-35A on or about August 1.

You can read the Marine Corps Times article here.

Top Photo: An F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 takes off during exercise Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 20, 2016. US Marine Corps Photo

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