The F-35B turned in “exceptional” performance during a week-long operational readiness inspection last week, but there’s apparently still a parts issue for the jet. Marine Corps air boss Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, in a statement on Friday’s declaration of initial operating capability with the F-35B, said the ORI was a great success and the jet “performed well in all five IOC operational scenarios: close air support, air interdiction, armed reconnaissance, offensive, [and] defensive counterair. This included live ordnance deliveries.” The F-35B, “if required, could respond to a contingency,” said Davis, who is deputy commandant for aviation. However, he also said, “We must remain vigilant in the forging of a sustainment system which supports readiness rates required to train for and conduct sustained combat operations.” He said, “If I have any concern at this point, it is that the spare parts available to extract maximum value from this exceptional warfighting asset will be shy of what we truly need.” A Lockheed Martin spokesman said the company is working with the USMC “every day to alleviate this concern.” Davis also made a pitch to raise the current readiness standards of USMC aviation, which are “between 70 and 75 percent” of full mission capability. “I think we have that wrong, and I want to see if we can do better with this new platform,” he said.
Sept. 27, 2022
As the Air Force moves forward with its efforts to operationalize the concept of agile combat employment, leaders need to embrace an iterative approach that builds on itself, recognizing that ACE may never be fully complete, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.