Shift in IOCs?

Despite assurance from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the F-35 restructure would not alter initial operational capability dates for the Marine Corps (2012), Air Force (2013), and Navy (2014), Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) asked Feb. 24 at the House Appropriations defense panel hearing on combat aircraft, “how is that” given the 13-month development delay and slowed production? Gen. William Fraser has said Air Combat Command is rethinking IOC and what level of combat capability it requires. At the hearing, Rear Adm. David Philman acknowledged the Navy believes its IOC would slip “out towards ’15, maybe later.” However, he said the Marines, “are holding to their 2012 IOC,” but F-35B testing will “prove that out.” A day earlier, USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said it would be “late in calendar year 2015” before USAF would have “meaningful numbers,” in the words of Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.).