F-35Bs Crawl, Walk, Run to Transformation

The F-35B strike fighter is a “transformational” capability, on par with how the MV-22 tiltrotor platform revolutionized expeditionary operations, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told reporters on Thursday. But some of its capabilities will take years to perfect, he said. “I would say we are in the crawl stage on that,” said Glueck when asked about the maturity of data links and systems to disseminate the jet’s electronics and command and control capabilities. The F-35B is “transformational because of what it does,” he said. “It is a battlefield integrator,” and when its systems mature, it will be able to deliver information about the overall picture of a conflict down to marines and troops on the ground, he said. The F-35B will eventually replace three aircraft across the Marine Corpsy: the F/A-18, EA-6B, and AV-8B, said Glueck. “It will be a disruptive technology in the beginning,” he said. “It’s going to take a while to realize what we need on the ground to take full advantage of all the capabilities,” he added.