Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, the US Marines top aviator, said F-35B pilots have matured in their understanding of the platform in the year since the service declared initial operational capability.
David also claims that pilots are now “pushing themselves to push past planned tactics and create a new way of using the fifth-generation technology”.
Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said:
“These guys went out there and they found all the targets very quickly and killed all the targets. Most importantly, we put a radar [surface-to-air missile] out in the objective area.
In the old days we’d have to go take care of the radar SAM, get somebody in to go take care of that because you don’t do armed reconnaissance, which is patrolling for targets out there, unless you’ve got a permissive threat environment and you beat that threat. These guys went out with the SAM in the area and did that and they killed the SAM.”
The F-35 is so stealthy, pilots are reportedly having difficulty participating in some types of training exercises.
According to the Air Force Times here, during an exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in the US, F-35 squadrons wanted to practice evading surface-to-air threats however no one on the ground could track the jets.
Lt. Col. George Watkins, the commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron said:
“If they never saw us, they couldn’t target us, we basically told them where we were at and said, ‘Hey, try to shoot at us’.”
The F-35s had to resort to turning on their transponders, used for FAA identification, so that simulated anti-air weapons could track the aircraft, Watkins added.
The F-35 features a significant amount of British developed components, in addition to 15% of every jet sold globally being built in Britain.
As the only Level 1 partner, the United Kingdom has garnered tremendous economic benefits from the F-35. British industry will build 15% of each of the more than 3,000 planned F-35s, in addition to a large volume of British developed aircraft systems including the electronic warfare suite.
The programme at peak will generate significant export revenue and GDP growth. The programme is projected to create and support more than 24,000 jobs across every region of the United Kingdom.