Marine Corps IOC Still Possible

Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s acquisition, technology, and logistics chief, this week said the Marine Corps probably won’t be able to declare initial operational capability with the F-35 by the planned July 2015 date, reported Aviation Week. However, Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan said Thursday he hasn’t given up trying. “I read what Mr. Kendall said,” Bogdan told reporters in a press conference, and “he’s recognizing that there’s risk” in meeting the July 1 date. The big roadblocks, Bogdan said, are getting 10 identically configured aircraft to the Marine Corps on time, working off the flight test backlog caused by the June airplane fire, and getting mission data files—information in the computers regarding geographical, threat, and other information—fully “populated” before IOC. However, all this may still be done, and Bogdan won’t say die until just before midnight on June 30, he added. If there is a slip, however, Bogdan said it will be “weeks, not months,” and far, far better than when the program saw slippages of years. Bogdan said he’s “made a promise” to USMC and will do all he can to keep it. On the wall of his conference room is a sign that on Thursday read “Countdown to USMC IOC: 244 (days).”