USS WASP: The Marines and Navy have spent most of the last three weeks putting the new F-35B through its paces here, executing more than 90 short takeoffs and vertical landings, including 19 at night. More than 1,200 Marine test pilots, engineers, experts from the Joint Program Office running the program and Navy and… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: During the 10 days of testing aboard the USS Wasp, the Marines will fly the F-35B carrying air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons to mimic combat conditions. But they won’t be blowing anything up because they will carry inert warheads. The Marines also will be exploring how they can expand the “vertical envelope” around the ship… Keep reading →
ABOARD THE USS WASP: Putting the best face on a potentially grim future, the Navy’s top officer is telling his sailors that the active fleet will be about the same size in five years as it is now, despite recently announced plans to retire a bunch of ships early and to not build as many new ones as planned.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, told sailors and Marines here that the number of ships in the fleet in 2017 “will be about the same, 285, but it won’t be going up as high as we wanted.” Keep reading →
ABOARD THE USS WASP: For the first time, Marine and Navy planners have melded a carrier strike group into the Marine Corps’ premiere amphibious operations wargame known as Bold Alligator. This appears to bridge what had appeared to be a growing divide between a Marine Corps eager to build more amphibious ships and a Navy intent on saving its existing carrier fleet. It also offers very concrete proof of the Marines recommitment to amphibious warfare, which they regard as their core competency.
This year also marks the first time military leaders conducted Bold Alligator with live ships, soldiers and aircraft. Called the largest amphibious exercise in 10 years, it was designed to replicate a sea-to-shore assault spearheaded by U.S. and coalition forces against enemy troops from a fictional country. This year, enemy troops from the country of “Garnet” invaded the neighboring country of “Amberland”. Just like last year’s virtual exercise, American and coalition forces were sent in to push back the invading forces. But unlike last year, the Navy and Marine Corps decided to bring the USS Enterprise with them. Keep reading →
The big news today: the Marines F-35B made a vertical landing on the deck of the USS Wasp, a small Marine aircraft carrier. Ship trials will demonstrate how the stealth materials on the plane hold up to harsh conditions at sea, as well as show just how hot and noisy the aircraft is when making landings on a carrier. There have been concerns that the enormous thrust and heat from the 43,000 pounds of thrust the engine can produce might soften carrier decks and require extra measures to cope with the stresses. So far, program officials say they have seen no evidence of that during the aircraft’s land-based tests.
We know next to nothing about the test results beyond what is contained in the following release from the Joint Strike fighter program office: Keep reading →