According to the CO of the Warlords, Lt. Col. Bachmann, there has been rapid progress over the past two years as the Marines prepared their aircraft for integration with the MAGTF.
When I last interviewed OD Bachmann, he had just flown the 200th sortie of the aircraft.
Fast forward to 2015, and the F-35B has more than 10,000 flight hours and the aircraft at Beaufort are among the 140 flying today.
When asked what are the differences between our last meeting and now, the CO of the Warlords had much to say and that will be discussed in the full interview.
But for now, the key thing to highlight is simply that the Marines in the past 2 and 1/2 years have gone from basic flying of the aircraft to training a “much more capable pilot.
We operate a variety of tactical missions including CAS, armed reconnaissance support, tactical intercepts and we operate multiple airplanes operating together via data links.”
These photos shot aboard the USS WASP during the beginning of the Operational Trials highlight the operation of the aircraft aboard the ship.
The first photo shows an F-35B Lightning II awaiting refueling before a night operations exercise during F-35B Operational Testing (OT-1) aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1) May 20, 2015.
Over the course of about two weeks, U.S. Marines, U.K. military and industry partners will evaluate the full spectrum of F-35B measures of suitability and effectiveness, as well as assessing the integration of the aircraft into the spectrum of amphibious-based flight operations.
An F-35B Lightning II lands on the flight deck of the USS Wasp (LHD-1) during short take-off, vertical landing operations, May 20, 2015.
No other advanced fighter jet in the world is capable of a vertical landing or taking off from a 400-foot runway.