Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said that “Marines absolutely love this aircraft” as they prepare to field a new F-35 squadron in June.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee said the aircraft “was designed and built for the future, for high-end threat.”
According to USNI, Mr Stackley added it was really a “false choice” to consider upgrading legacy aircraft instead of replacing them with the fifth-generation fighter that will be used by the Navy and Air Force, as well as the Marines.
The US Marine Corps plans to purchase 340 F-35Bs, to replace current inventories of both the F/A-18 Hornet (A, B, C and D-models), and the AV-8B Harrier II, in the fighter and attack roles.
The Marines plan to use the F-35B from “unimproved surfaces at austere bases” but with “special, high-temperature concrete designed to handle the heat.”
The USMC declared Initial Operational Capability with about 50 F-35s running interim Block 2B software on 31 July 2015.