Most Viewed Stories
F-35 a success in weapons test
The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, expected to arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma by the end of the year, accomplished a significant test milestone Aug. 8 by demonstrating a successful weapons release during a flight at Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md.
U.S. military officials at the test site see this as a “significant entry into a new phase of testing for the F-35 program,” which includes validating the F-35's capability to employ precision weapons and allow pilots to engage the enemy on the ground and in the air.
The release was the first time any version of the F-35 conducted an airborne weapon separation, as well as the first from an internal weapon bay for a fighter aircraft designated for the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom and Italy.
“Stealth, fifth generation avionics, and precision weapons, coupled with the flexible mission capability of the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B is going to be huge for our warfighters,” said Dan Levin, Lockheed Martin test pilot for the mission.
MCAS Yuma is currently undergoing a substantial JSF infrastructure build-up that began in June 2011 and includes construction of a new simulator building, four aircraft hangars, utility upgrades, supporting establishment buildings, an auxiliary landing field and community service upgrades. “Although almost every road on station has been dug up during this infrastructure upgrade, the results of this makeover will bring MCAS Yuma up to par with the most advanced air stations in the country,” stated Col. Robert Kuckuk, MCAS Yuma commanding officer.
Beyond infrastructure, Marine Aircraft Group 13 is now receiving key personnel who will maintain and fly the F-35B.
Lt Col. Jeff Scott is the officer in charge of Marine Aircraft Group 13 Detachment A, which will transition to become the first operational F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadron in the U.S. Marine Corps. He recently arrived in Yuma and is impressed with the forward movement of the aircraft's development. “This test event is another significant milestone in the F-35 program and specifically for the F-35B bringing us closer to the impressive operational capability this aircraft will provide to the Marine Corps and our nation,” he said.
The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter designed for use by the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as F-35 international partners in the United Kingdom and Italy. The F-35B is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings to enable air power projection from amphibious ships, ski jump aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields. The F-35B is currently undergoing testing and evaluation at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., prior to delivery to its first U.S. Marine Corps operational squadron at MCAS Yuma.
Capt. Staci Reidinger is the public information officer for Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.