2013-01-28 The F-35 flight test program ended a successful year in 2012. We have interviewed many of the participants in the flight test program at Eglin AFB, Fort Worth and Yuma Arizona.
The standup of the first F-35B squadron with the USMC is part of an overall innovation approach being undertaken by the USMC as they deal with the influx of new aviation assets and new thinking about concepts of operations.
We spent a good deal of time with various pilots and maintainers in the program, and discussed the challenges and progress in the program with the pilots.
As Secretary Wynne has put it:
It is noteworthy that to truly exploit the significant discontinuity that the fifth generation affords will require experimentation to determine the most effective operational approaches Such experimentation has already commenced within the US Marine Corps. They see the formation of a very different version of the Army Air Assault force introduced in the Ashau Valley and documented in When We Were Soldiers and Young.
This updates the MEU in a decisive way and portends potentially the era of independent action with an Expeditionary Assault Group. Experimentation can and should as well be with the fleet, and combine fluid command between the ship and the shore with directed indirect ships fire in support of the dynamic air assault.