MARINE CORPS AIRCRAFT
Of the 61 F/A-18As upgraded to the A+ configuration, 54
have been upgraded to F/A-18C capability (as F/A-18A++).
The service plans to replace approximately 25 of the A++ aircraft as they reach service life limits with F/A-18Cs upgraded
to a C+ configuration, equipped with Link 16, color cockpit
displays, a moving-map display, ALE- 47 infrared countermeasures, the Naval Aircrew Common Ejection Seat and the Joint
Helmet-Mounted Cueing System. Marines will continue to
operate F/A-18A++/C/C+/Ds until they are replaced by F- 35
The F/A-18C/D has the space, power and cooling capability
needed to accommodate installation-sensitive avionics. Starting
in spring 2014, a total of 36 retrofits began for the F/A-18C/D
Electronics Warfare systems, resulting in sophisticated systems
such as the Block III Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures System that includes the AN/ALR- 67(V) 3 RWR,
AN/ALQ-214(V) 5 Airborne Jammer, and the AN/ALE- 47
Infrared Countermeasures (chaff and flares).
The Corps has seven active squadrons flying F/A-18A++s or
F/A-18Cs, four squadrons of F/A-18Ds and one Reserve squadron
flying F/A-18A++s. A fleet-replacement squadron operates F/A-
18A++/B/C/D aircraft. Marine F/A-18A++/C squadrons have been
integrated into several Navy carrier air wings.
Marine Corps Hornets continue to support Operation
Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
(See the Navy Aircraft section for F/A- 18 specifications.)
F-35B/C LIGHTNING II
BRIEFING: The F-35B is intended to replace the F/A-18C
Hornets and AV-8B Harriers for the Marine Corps. It has an
engine, software and avionics in common with the F-35A and C
variants. However, its internal weapons bay is slightly smaller to
accommodate the lift fan used for vertical flight. (See the Navy
Aircraft section for a description of F- 35 mission systems.)
The F-35B first flew on June 8, 2008, and vertical lift operations began with initial hover pit work in January 2009 when
the first STOVL-qualified engine arrived at the Lockheed Martin
Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The full mission systems will be installed first on the fourth F-35B. The first F-35B
arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., in
December 2009 to begin STOVL flight testing. It was joined in
2010 by three other test aircraft, including the first with a mission system installed. In October 2011, the F-35B completed sea
trials onboard USS Wasp.
In 2011, the Marine Corps decided to procure 340 F-35Bs and
80 F-35Cs. The service plans to equip five Fighter Attack Squadrons
(VMFAs) with F-35Cs to augment Navy carrier air wings. (See the
Navy Aircraft section for a description of the F-35C.)
In 2012, the U.K. Royal Navy reversed its 2010 decision to
purchase F-35Cs in lieu of F-35Bs. The Italian Navy is the only
other foreign service planning to buy the F-35B.
The Marine Corps’ training squadron for the F- 35, VMFAT-
501, stood up in April 2010. The first F-35B was delivered to
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in January 2012. F-35B training
began at Eglin in mid-2012 and moved the training to Marine
Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, S.C., in 2014.
The Corps’ first operational F- 35 squadron, VMFA- 121 at
MCAS Yuma, Ariz., completed transition to the F-35B in 2013.
Initial operational capability (IOC) is scheduled for late 2015.
As of October 2014, 33 F-35Bs had been delivered to the
Data applies to F-35B
WINGSPAN: .................. 35 feet
LENGTH:...................... 51. 3 feet
WEIGHT: .......................empty, 32,300 pounds
MAX WEIGHT:...............takeoff, 60,000 pounds
SPEED:......................... 1.0 Mach
RANGE:........................900 nautical miles unrefueled; radius, 469
POWER PLANT: ........... 1 Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine
ARMAMENT: ................laser-guided bombs, JDAM, cluster munitions,
CREW: .......................... 1 pilot
CONTRACTORS:.........Lockheed Martin Corp., Pratt & Whitney,
Northrop Grumman Corp., BAE Systems,
BRIEFING: The EA-6B Prowler’s mission is to ensure survivability of U.S. and coalition forces through the identification and
suppression of enemy air defenses using the ALQ-218 Tactical
Jamming Receiver System (TJRS) and ALQ- 99 Tactical Jamming
System (TJS), lethal suppression using the AGM- 88 HARM, and
communications jamming using the USQ- 113 Radio
Countermeasures Set. It is designated as a low-density/high-demand national asset. Navy and Marine Corps Prowlers have
supported U.S. and coalition forces operating from a variety of
expeditionary sites throughout the world and from Navy aircraft
carriers since 1971.
Major Prowler upgrades over the last four decades have
included multiple engine upgrades to the J52-P-408B, a service
life extension program and several weapon systems upgrades.
The ALQ- 99 TJS pods have received upgrades over this same
period as well, including a Universal Exciter upgrade and two
new transmitters, the band 9/10 transmitter and the new Low-Band Transmitter.
The Improved Capability (ICAP) III configuration is the latest version of the EA-6B weapon systems, and will be the last
major upgrade of the platform. Thirty-two aircraft have been
upgraded to the ICAP III configuration, which includes incorporation of the ALQ-218 TJSR that provides increased signal
detection, geo-location capability and selective reactive jamming capability.
F-35B LIGHTNING II