The U.S. has spent a lot of money developing the F-35 fighter jet, close to half a trillion dollars have been invested in this project which at times has been criticized particularly when results were not favorable. There’s good news for people who have been waiting to see this jet take to the skies because it has passed its biggest milestone: The U.S. Marine Corps has declared the F-35B ready for combat as the jet has achieved initial operational capability (IOC).

In simple words this means that the Marine variant of this fighter jet, designated by the alphabet “B,” can now be deployed across the globe and used in active combat situations.

F-35B is a fifth generation fighter jet developed by Lockheed Martin, since it’s the Marine variant it features a short takeoff and vertical landing system (STOVL) which allows it to takeoff from an aircraft carrier using a ski jump.

U.S. Marine Corps plans to purchase 340 F-35Bs in order to replace its ageing fleet of F/A-18 Hornets. It’s going to use the new jet to provide offensive and defensive counter-air, air interdiction, close air support, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of Marine Air Ground Task Force or the Joint Force.

First F-35B is likely to be deployed to Iwakuni, Japan by 2017. The Air Force variant F-35A is believed to be operational by this fall with the carrier-based C variant expected to be operational by 2018.

Filed in Military.. Source: marines.mil

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