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  • USMC: Still Holding the Beachhead on JSF IOC
    Posted by Amy Butler 4:32 PM on Mar 03, 2010

    The U.S. Marines are doing what they do best for the F35 -- securing a beach head and holding onto it.

    They confirm that they are still planning to declare initial operational capability for the F-35 in 2012; there is no change to the earlier goal. This means the Marines will be the first service -- by at least two years -- to declare the aircraft ready for ops. And, they will be employing the most complex JSF design.

    "Our IOC is still 2012 and [full operational capability] 2024.  Nothing has changed," says Maj. Carl Redding, Marine Corps spokesman.

    Initial operational capability is declared when a service feels a weapon system is ready for deployment and to do its mission -- that means enough aircraft, spares and the right software (in the case of JSF) to go abroad and kill things.

    Sticking to 2012 seems to be a high-risk goal. As it stands, there has been no vertical landing yet, and we are about two years out from the IOC goal. And, that is a critical milestone for the seafaring service. Aircraft deliveries for test jets are behind, and software testing is lagging. The big restructuring in the Fiscal 2011 budget is designed to curb the impact of these problems, but there is still a 13-month delay to the conclusion of flight testing.

    Testers aren't likely to have a formal report until 2015 -- three years after USMC declares its IOC.

    Meanwhile, USAF has slipped its IOC two years to late CY2015, and Navy officials are reassessing their plans for a 2014 IOC.

    Tags: ar99 JSF IOC marine lockheed

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