The excellent Worldwide War Pigs blog today forecasts the challenges awaiting the US Marine Corps’ scheduled entry-into-service for the F-35B in 2012, or up to two years before Lockheed Martin has finished testing it.
With such an early IOC and SDD still in progress, this means that therewill be a lot of “mistake jets”. Where engineering fixes yet to befigured out in testing will be worked on later. This by itself will befodder for the broken-rifle-all-defense-programs-are-bad-club: “USMC’s New Fighter Can’t….(fill in the blank).
But it’s also worth remembering that the F-35B is really just the tip of the iceberg for the USMC.
The USMC is currently standing up the MV-22 and UH-1Y fleets, while preparing the AH-1Z and F-35B to enter operational and development testing, respectively. Meanwhile, both the VH-71 and the CH-53K are in the thick of their development phases.
Virtually every component of the USMC’s rotary and strike fleets is undergoing modernization or replacement at the same time, even as the operational service fights two wars and maintains readiness levels.
It makes you wonder: how long can they keep this pace going?