US Marine Corps First Large-Wing Stealth Fighter Squadron Ready for War
The United States Marine Corps declared himself ready for battle its first squadron equipped with F-35C Lightning II stealth fighters.
As part of an aircraft carrier air wing, an F-35C squadron is responsible for the deep strike mission, penetrating air defenses in order to strike enemy bases, supply lines and command facilities . The mission becomes increasingly important to the Marine Corps as it plans a war with China.
Marine Fighter-Attack Squadron 314, part of the 3rd Marine Air Wing in Miramar, Calif., Has declared initial operational readiness, the wing said on Tuesday. The Navy has scheduled the deployment of the VMFA-314 aboard a west coast aircraft carrier in early 2022.
The Navy’s first F-35C squadron, VFA-147, will undertake the type’s inaugural cruise aboard the San Diego-based flat-roof USS. Carl Vinson Next year.
The Navy’s nine air squadrons will have a squadron of F-35Cs by the 2030s. Large-wing stealth fighters will fly alongside CVW’s F / A-18E / F fighters, EA-18G jammer planes, E-2 radar planes, MQ-25 tanker drones, CMV-22 tiltrotors and MH-60 helicopters.
The Corps plans to purchase approximately 70 F-35Cs and convert four such squadrons, two on each coast, to support the Navy air squadrons. The Marines also purchase hundreds of F-35B jump jets, which fly from land bases as well as from the Navy nine large-deck assault ships.
The F-35B and F-35C share the technology. But the cells are quite different. The large wing F-35C is slower than the F-35B but carries more fuel. The C’s weapon bay is more spacious than the B’s, so the C can carry Joint Standoff Weapon slide bombs without sacrificing its stealth lines.
In short, the F-35C is better for long range strike missions in the midst of heavy enemy defenses. The F-35B is best for close quarters combat on the edge of battle.
But it was the compatibility of the C with Navy aircraft carriers that really led to the acquisition of this type by the Marines.
The mix of Navy and Navy squadrons aboard aircraft carriers – known as “tacair integration” – dates back to the 1990s. The idea was to mix and match Navy and Navy fighters. the Navy for scale efficiency. The navy units would go to sea to fight with the CVWs. Navy units would fly from land to support Marines on the ground.
It was a controversial plan. “If you fit in, what is the need for sea air? Norman Polmar, analyst and naval author, Recount Air Force Review in 2007. “The raison d’être of Marine Air is to support grunts. If you start to put them together [with the Navy], you lose the uniqueness of the sea air.
But the F-35C emphasizes the advantage of integration. The deep strike mission that the F-35C performs as part of the CVW becomes increasingly important to the wider Marine Corps as the service refines its concept of “forward basic expeditionary operations.” Under EABO, the Marines plan to breach Chinese defenses, set up island bases, and strike Beijing’s forces from within their lines.
EABO demands discretion. And not only when it comes to so-called “fifth generation” aircraft. Marine battalions on their island bases must avoid detection in order to survive against larger Chinese forces. The Corps even hopes to retrain its radio operators to avoid revealing the location of their units when communicating.
“I think if you look at the competition from 2025 to 2030, the fifth generation for us as an inner force will be needed to win,” Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, then Marine Corps Deputy Commander for Aviation, Recount legislators in 2019.
When not on aircraft carriers, Marine F-35C squadrons will be available to Marine Expeditionary units fighting from land. And this is where the Corps’ large-wing stealth fighters could have their greatest impact, striking from island bases at targets deep inside Chinese lines.