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Friday, May 08, 2015

Despite setbacks, Marines' 1st F-35 squadron right on track, service says

F-35B Lightning IIDespite setbacks, the Marine Corps’ variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is still on track to reach initial operational capability by July, Marines said this week.

To declare initial operational capability, or IOC, the Corps’ first F-35 squadron must show that the stealthy jets can perform several specific types of operational missions and that the squadron can maintain the aircraft at home and at sea.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 stood up in Yuma, Ariz., in 2012 to be the first operational F-35 squadron in the U.S. military, but the bulk of the first year was devoted to getting all the pilots and maintainers trained on the new aircraft, said Maj. John Price, the unit’s executive officer.

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