The Navy and Marine Corps today deployed the F-35B short-takeoff-and-landing variant for the first-ever shipboard deployment.
A detachment of F-35s with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-121 landed aboard the Wasp (LHD-1) marking the beginning of the deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
"The F-35B is a game-changer for the Marine Corps," Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok, VMFA-121 commanding officer said in a statement.
The Government Accountability Office, in an October 2017 report, highlighted the Marine Corps' initial F-35 deployments on ships in 2018, and potentially the initial ship deployments for the Navy, will not include required intermediate-level maintenance capabilities. (Emphasis added throughout—Ed.)
Such capabilities provide a level of support between the squadron and the depots so that repairs can be done at sea. The Pentagon has identified initial intermediate capabilities that it plans to implement, but funding is not in place. (end of excerpt)
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