Integration of the F-35C into Marine Corps Acquisition Plans
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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In current combat operations, three different Marine Corps fixed-wing platforms provide offensive air support OAS in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the near future, the Marine Corps intends to provide air support to the Marine-air- ground-task-force MAGTF with a single variant of aircraft, the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter JSF. By doing so, the Corps will be relying heavily on one aircraft to fulfill the roles of multiple platform capabilities. While operating from either a forward operating base FOB, or from the flight deck of a ship, the Marine Corps needs to scrutinize the capabilities of the aircraft carrier variant F-35C. Historically, the MAGTF has relied on many aircraft for supporting troops on the ground. In the 1960s, the Marine Corps possessed the capabilities provided by the A-4 Skyhawk, the F-4 Phantom, and the A-6 Intruder. Modern strike aircraft such as the AV-8B Harrier II and the FA-18CD Hornet support the MAGTF today. The introduction of the JSF will present a few challenges. The F-35B Short Take-Off Vertical Landing STOVL model, designed mostly for close air support CAS missions, will have a hard time fulfilling all of the above platforms capabilities.
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