Marine Corps: Demonstration of F-35B Joint Strike Fighter

On 18DEC07, Lockheed Martin gave a demonstration of the F-35B, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), to the U.S. Marine Corps. The F-35B uses short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) to allow it to launch from either a short runway or to launch vertically. The F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier. Lockheed Martin is scheduled to make its first delivery of F-35Bs to the Marine Corps in 2012. That is if Lockheed does not experience further redesigns, as it was forced to do three years ago.

The F-35B is one of the three variants of the JSF:

  • F-35A – Conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) – This version will be purchased by the US Air Force to replace F-16s and A-10s.
  • F-35B – Short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) – This version will be purchased by the US Marine Corps and the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
  • F-35C – Carrier Variant (CV) – This version will be purchased by the US Navy to replace the F/A-18 and F-14. This version has greater ability to manage low-speed landings on carriers, and increased structural durability to survive catapult launches and arrested landings.Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England unveiled Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in July.

Given the delays that have already plagued the JSF and the increased use of drone aircraft, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, the JSF may undergo an additional redesign: removing the pilot. In August 2006, Lockheed Martin proposed an unmanned version of the JSF, or a hybrid version that could be both manned for some missions and unmanned for others.

Prediction: if there is ever a manned version of the JSF, it will only be temporary. The more likely scenario is a completely unmanned JSF.

yojoe (in prediction mode) out

9 Responses

  1. Unmanned jet fighters sound nice but I envision a lot of angry piolts in the Air Force fighting something like this tooth and nail. No one wants to be replaced.

  2. Steve – The same was true in the Navy with battleships. They were obsolete by the end of WW2, but they stayed in service until 1990. On of the reasons for this is the desire by Navy officers to command a battleship, not because they were useful weapons platforms. The same will be true of manned aircraft, but there is no way to avoid it.

  3. I believe that during a dogfight a manned aircraft will prove to be better than an unmanned one.

    And we wouldnt want to waste $15b due to some computer erorr that sends the plane crashing into the sea.

  4. Mortified Penguin – You may be correct. The reality is, however, there are no more dogfights. All engagements are over the horizon. Also, manned aircraft often crash into the sea, land, etc.,because of human error. When that happens we lose an aircraft and a pilot.


  5. Wow wow wow, yojoe, I believe the same thing was said after the Korean War. It was then decided that jets aircraft no longer needed cannon because missiles could do all the work. They turned out to be sorely mistaken. Hence the gun pods seen under the wings of Phantoms in Vietnam.

    I have no doubt there are many dog fights to come. The new F-22 and F-35 are amazing machines, but to assume that the dogfight will never happen again, is still in my opinion, a premature assumption. I believe the Air Force is with me on this one as well. For example, thrust vectoring on the F-22 would be completely worthless unless the Air Force expected to be dog fighting.

  6. Steve – You are absolutely correct that the demise of the dogfight was prematurely predicted after the Korean War. But, just because the prediction was premature, does not mean it will never come to pass. The horse was a magnificent weapon of war for centuries, but it was eventually replaced.
    Let us assume that dogfights will continue into perpetuity, there is no evidence to suggest a manned aircraft would outperform an unmanned aircraft. Having humans in the aircraft limits the performance of the aircraft, e.g., that inability of humans to survive multiple g forces, and fly for hours on end.
    You are quite correct that many pilots and aviators will try to stop this transition – one need only look at the Army officers still wearing cowboy hats – but it can not be stopped, only slowed. The Air Force is still predicting dog fights, because, to some extent, it wants them to still be a reality. Keeping pilots employed is their focus. Take for example, the requirement that officers pilot unmanned aircraft, the Army and Marine Corps uses enlisted operators.
    After all, ask the cavalry guys if they want to trade a Bradley for a buckskin. Thanks for the comments.


  7. All true. I agree that man will be replaced, all I’m saying, is I see unmanned aircraft having dogfights just like manned ones do.

    Other than that I enjoy your blog!

  8. mnot i need to now this f35 how to made

  9. Mnot – It is easy. You just get some metal, some wires, glass, and other stuff. Then put is all together and bake at 350 for 45 min. What are you asking?


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