Simulations Offer Marines Advanced F-35B Weapons, Training

By Amy Butler
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

The squadron now has eight of 16 F-35Bs. It will permanently move to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan in late summer 2017. Of VMFA 121's 16 aircraft, six are slated for deployment on the USS Makin Island amphibious assault ship in the Pacific, with the remaining 10 at Iwakuni.

“The F-35B will be the multirole, multi-mission fifth-gen aircraft that the nation will have in [the Western Pacific], and it will be the only one in the Department of the Navy,” Schmidle says.

The Marines plan to declare IOC by the end of December 2015 with the 2B software, which has limited functionality. Schmidle, however, says even use of the AIM-120, 1,000-lb. GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition and 500-lb. laser-guided bomb, will allow for anti-air and ground attack missions.

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