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 Lightning IIs.
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
Radar Warning Receiver, 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 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 full
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.
Operational Test I was conducted in May 2015 onboard USS
Wasp. Initial operational capability (IOC) was achieved on July
As of October 2015, 40 F-35Bs had been delivered to the
Marine Corps. The Corps has a requirement for 340 F-35Bs.
Data applies to F-35B
WINGSPAN: .................. 35 feet
LENGTH:...................... 51. 3 feet
WEIGH T: .......................empty, 32,300 pounds
MAX WEIGHT:...............takeoff, 60,000 pounds
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.
Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Color Displays have been incorporated into all four crew stations replacing legacy monochrome displays. The ICAP III upgrade incorporates the USQ-
140 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Link 16
F-35B LIGHTNING IIS