Marines now planning split buy?

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bjr1028

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 01:21

Towards the end of the article.
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/20 ... ch-030811/

Even if the B version of the JSF successfully enters service, the Marine Corps is planning to fly the F-35C carrier-capable version in addition to the B. Marine strike fighter squadrons flying F/A-18 Hornets regularly deploy now on board aircraft carriers, and those squadrons will transition to the Navy’s C version of the JSF.

“We’re currently undertaking a look at Marine-Navy carrier integration to see what the proper mix is with both conventional and STOVL aircraft,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said.

The change from the earlier plan to provide the Marines solely with the STOVL JSF was made because of technical problems with the F-35B’s development, Amos explained.

“That that was the original plan,” he told the committee. “It’s yet to be seen if flying the 35B off carriers is possible.

“It seemed to be prudent that we buy 35Cs,” he added. “But the STOVL is still our primary purpose.”

But Amos reaffirmed his strong support for the aircraft’s development.

The F-35B is “vital to our ability to conduct combined arms operations in expeditionary environments,” he said in his prepared statement. “Continued funding and support from Congress for this program is of the utmost importance.”
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aaam

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 01:43

I wonder if this is really because the Marines are concerned about technical problems or if it is coming from internal Navy pressure.

One things those Marine Hornet squadrons on CVNs do is allow the USN to fill its decks while partly paying for it out of the Marines' budget. I Marines go all STOVL, USN would have to fund their total requirement out of their own accounts. Speculation on my part here is that NAVAIR told USMC that in return for Navy's continues support of F-35B, Marines would have to help the Navy solve its "problem".
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discofishing

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 01:49

Now that makes a little more sense now! I'm glad the Marines are waking up to reality.
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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 02:12

There are already a number of USMC fighter units flying off of the CVNs. It never made since for those units to transfer over to STOVL aircraft in the first place. In defense of the B model, the situation in Libya is an example of where LHA's carrying F-35Bs would be perfect, providing top-tier air power and amphibious capability (for evacuation or intervention) without the menace or risk of sending in a full-on carrier.
Last edited by 1st503rdsgt on 09 Mar 2011, 07:45, edited 1 time in total.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 02:14

The Marines are looking to end the "2-year" probation early based on the pace of testing & planned fixes for known problems.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/ ... 2120110308

The U.S. Marine Corps' top general said he wants an early end to a two-year "probation" imposed on the short-takeoff version of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet and is encouraged by its progress since a major program restructuring.

...

"My sense is I'm optimistic," Amos said. "We are on a two-year watch. It's my hope that we can get off that well before two years."

Amos said he planned to offer Gates a set of metrics this spring that would measure progress on the plane and allow the Pentagon to lift the current probationary status.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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aaam

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 02:22

discofishing wrote:Now that makes a little more sense now! I'm glad the Marines are waking up to reality.


Not so much the Marines waking up to reality as much as the Navy '...making them an offer they can't refuse'.
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aaam

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 02:25

1st503rdsgt wrote:There are already a number of USMC fighter units flying off of the CVNs. It never made since for those units to transfer over to STOVL aircraft in the first place. In defense of the B model, the situation in Libya is a perfect example of where LHA's carrying F-35Bs would be perfect, providing top-tier air power and amphibious capability (for evacuation or intervention) without the menace or risk of sending in a full-on carrier.


Part of the reason those units are doing so is so the Navy can fill out carrier air wings without having to pay for it all out of the Navy portion of the budget. Remember, the actual mission of embarked Marine Air is to go ashore once the ground troops are established.
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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 02:27

discofishing wrote:Now that makes a little more sense now! I'm glad the Marines are waking up to reality.


And exactly what 'reality' would that be?
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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 02:31

The Marines have always had conventional aircraft; matter of fact (besides helicopters) ALL the USMC aircraft have been 'conventional' in nature from the first a Curtiss C-3 in 1912 to the AV-8A in 1971. Even when the Harriers entered service the USMC continued to operate 'conventional' F-4 Phantoms and now F/A-18 Hornets along side the USN squadrons and Harrier IIs.

No big surprise to me that they're electing to split their buy to keep them in tune to the USN, and continue to benefit/share budget costs with them.

Remember the USAF had thought at one time about looking into some F-35Bs to replace the A-10. (Allowing more forward basing options) I believe that idea has been dropped though.

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discofishing

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 06:49

quicksilver wrote:
discofishing wrote:Now that makes a little more sense now! I'm glad the Marines are waking up to reality.


And exactly what 'reality' would that be?


The F-35B has some issues and it won't be sustainable in the field.
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handyman

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 07:01

If this reduces the total number of F35Bs purchased, wouldn't it push the unit cost even higher? The death spiral continues.
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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 08:11

aaam wrote:Speculation on my part here is that NAVAIR told USMC that in return for Navy's continues support of F-35B, Marines would have to help the Navy solve its "problem".


How is the Navy supporting the F-35B?
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bjr1028

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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 17:22

handyman wrote:If this reduces the total number of F35Bs purchased, wouldn't it push the unit cost even higher? The death spiral continues.


Yes and the F-35C price a bit lower. If only the Harriers are replaced, you could see the total B-model order reduced to under 200 units.

psychmike wrote:
aaam wrote:Speculation on my part here is that NAVAIR told USMC that in return for Navy's continues support of F-35B, Marines would have to help the Navy solve its "problem".


How is the Navy supporting the F-35B?


You have no idea how U.S. naval aviation is organized, do you?
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Unread post09 Mar 2011, 20:31

From Mr.LineInTheDew:

US Marine Corps to become 2nd F-35C customer By Stephen Trimble on March 9, 2011

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... e-2nd.html

'I'm back on the defense beat after a brief interlude covering the commercial-oriented Heli-Expo convention in Orlando this week. Amazing what you miss if you turn your head for two days.

For example, the US Marine Corps, which previously seemed devoted solely to the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B variant, will soon buy some F-35C carrier varaints. Here's my transcript of the exchange yesterday between Sen Joe Lieberman, of Connecticut, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and commandant of the Marine Corps Gen James Amos.

"Lieberman: I noted in the statement you made in your prepared testimony that the F-35C of the Joint Strike Fighter will be procured for both the navy and the marine corps. I think it's been the general understanding that the Marine Corps would want to see produced and would procure a pure F-35B STOVL fleet variant of the F-35 and that in fact is the plan that is reflecte in the curret future years defense program. Did I read this correctly in your prepared statement and could you speak therefore to the future mix if that is the correct interpration of the F-35B and F-35C in the Marine Corps inventory?

Mabus: Yes, sir. It has always been true that the F-35B was solely a Marine aircraft. It's also been true the C version the carrier version the naval version was going to have marines flying those as well. Today we have three marine squadrons aboard carriers. And we are currently undergoing a TacAir [tactical aircraft] integration look across the navy and Marine Corps to see what the proper mix is of C's for the navy and Marine Corps to make sure that we continue that integration and make sure marines continue to fly off carriers in strike fighters as well as in vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

Lieberman: General, can you give me your reaction to this? Is that mix at this point acceptable to the marine corps? Am I wrong that you had originally hoped for a pure STOVL variant fleet?

Amos: Senator, you are correct that was the initial plan. Let me back up just a little bit. We've always been fans of TacAir integration. As the secretary said, we have had marine squadrons on the navy carriers -- on the Enterprise right now, we have Marine F/A-18s. We do that. We like that. It's good for both our services and the naval force. But when we set the requirement in for STOVL aircraft our hope was we would be able to some day fly some of those aircraft off CVN aircraft carriers. That's yet to be seen whether that would be possible. So in the meantime it would seem prudent that we sould buy some number of C variants even early on so we can begin to transition our force there. But it will be a proportional number to our overall buy of STOVL."
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Unread post10 Mar 2011, 00:26

I always thought the Canadians and Australians would go for the C since they already operate F18 from shorter runways. We'll see.
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