F-35B JSF Sea Trials to Start Next Week

In case you haven’t seen it, the Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighter is set to begin sea trials aboard the amphibious assault ship, USS Wasp next week.

From Marine Corps Times:

“They start on 3rd October, and should last only two weeks,” said Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, the Marine’s deputy commandant for aviation. “But we have the USS Wasp for six weeks in case there are some anomalies.”

Robling expressed confidence that the sea trials would go well.

According to Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager, Tom Burbage, both the Lightning II aircraft and the amphibious assault ship Wasp have been instrumented for the trials.

Successful sea trials would be a coup for the Marines and the F-35B program, which then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates placed on two-year probation last year.

That’s pretty huge considering the event will mark the first time any variant of the F-35 has landed on a ship. While the F-35B has been making plenty of flight test progress this year, some are still worrying that it will be cut. Heck, one Marine aviator is even suggesting that the Corps consider buying F-22 Raptors if the Bravo doesn’t work out.

  • Black Owl

    They should have just bought Super Hornets saved their money while maximizing their effectiveness. The F-22 can’t do close air support and neither can the F-35. The F-35 can’t even take small arms fire, let alone shoulder fired SAMs. The F-22 is impractical to buy anymore because its so damn expensive. The Super Hornet can handle anything and is cheaper than oats and cookies.

  • ajohnson379

    really? you think a a super hornet can take small arms and shoulder fired sams better than a F35? on what basis? neither aircraft would fare well taking hits like that, which is why they don’t operate like the warthog does….CAS from those platforms looks a little different

    • Black Owl

      You do know that older hornets were able to take shoulder fired SAMs and still make it back home during the first Gulf War, right?

  • Musson1

    This makes sense if it means the Marines can operate outside of the air umbrella of a Carrier Task Group.

    I would use this as an air superiority fighter flying cover for attack aircraft.

  • Lance

    Now the Corps wants F-22s instead why just cancel this save money then in 4 years sell the USMC some Raptors or F-15SE be better than this tiny fighter.

    • PMI

      The Marine Corps does not want F-22s.

      A single Marine supply officer wrote a an article advocating the idea in the Gazette.

      Next month you will see his argument being deconstructed & torn apart by other Marines. That’s one of the points of publications like the MCG they serve as a sounding board and peer review process for off the wall ideas.

  • M167A1

    The jarheads need the new A/C badly so Yaaaaa !

    But this program has not set many positive examples….

  • OMEGATALON

    Successful testing of the F-35B on the USS Wasp could mean more interest by other countries that have helicopter carriers as they can have a magnetic catapult retrofitted to the ships’s flight-deck and allow their carriers join a very elite group of countries.

  • ranks

    I hear Sukhoi has some cheap jets for sale, and they work too.

  • CH53EGNR

    What the USMC needs to do is scrap the JSF program and buy more Super Hornets or some other carrier borne aircraft. I do agree with a carrier version of the A-10 (if possible). It is exactly what the corps needs as far as CAS msns.

  • Letsallbefriends

    The A10 is a Marine-style plane, the F22 isn’t, simple as. We have too many intelligence services, too many air forces, too many special forces. Time to simplify.

  • Black Owl. F35A/C can carry 2x 2,000lb bombs internally, but the available load is more diverse than that and you don’t need a 2,000lb bomb to take out a tank.

    2x external ASRAAM has minimal effect on aircraft signature, leaving room for 8x internal Brimstone, or SDB. So the four F35 in your example can take out the 22 tanks and artillery too. And F35 would likely fly such a mission with external load anyway – perhaps fuel, 2x triple Brimstone rails, EW pod on the gun mounting.

    • SMSgt Mac

      I would only add that the Marines originally specified they wanted nothing larger than 1Klb internally on the JDAM menu. ‘Someone’ thought it would be a great idea to change it into a 2K carriage scheme, and then sanity returned and the original requirement was kept. The Marines tend to know what they need, so I suspect there was a ‘Navy’ angle in the false change to 2k.

  • James

    Any ground attack role you can imagine for a f-35 can be done cheaper and more effectively by other air craft or UCAVs. Only the a-10 or f-22 make sense for the Marine. In air yo air combat the f-35 is nearly helpless as it lacks the necessary software upgrades to perform that mission. Moreover what pilot wants to go into the air with only 2 missiles and 5-6 cannon bursts.

  • Tony C

    The hovering engine noise may scare the enemy into surrender!!!

  • tiger

    How about Boeing’s X32? While ugly, It seems like it was a better plane.

  • Patriot Dreamer

    Spads & SE-5s are cheaper than F-35s but are equivalent to A-10s & F-18s in wars we will face soon. Only the latest technology aircraft survived in past wars and will in the future. Just be sure to build enough F-35s to last until unmanned aircraft are ready.