After years of passing more conventional capabilities by, I think it is time for the Marine Corps, and the “Gator Navy” for that matter, to get serious about getting the very most out of their soon to be fielded, extremely expensive and controversial F-35B force. At $150 million a pop, they need to be more than nicer Harriers. Advertisement Treating it as an advanced Harrier will hardly leverage the huge investment in opportunity cost and treasure that this aircraft represents. The uber-complex F-35B, with its unique capability to takeoff and land in short distances, while retaining a decent majority of the conventional F-35A’s range and payload, is really a fantastic capability that makes this particular model of the Joint Strike Fighter the most strategically relevant out of the three variants. With the fielding of the F-35B, the Navy almost doubles its theoretical “first day of war,” fixed wing capable, carrier force. This means that more ships capable of operating high-performance, low-observable, multi-role fighters, can be in more places at a single time. This enhancement to America’s naval power projection capability will complicate the war plans of any potential peer state belligerent, and will result in a highly relevant strategic boost… Read full this story
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