U.S. Marines Nearing F-35B Combat Readiness Declaration

The US Marine Corps' top aviator flew to an Arizona air base this week as part of a final effort to certify the combat-readiness of an initial squadron of 10 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35B fighter jets, their pilots and technicians. Marine Corps officials were due to brief Lieutenant General Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, on a week-long review which included operational and simulator flights in five core mission areas, an inspection of the maintenance department, and academics for both pilots and technicians. If Davis is satisfied, he will brief Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford, who will decide whether to declare an "initial operational capability," or IOC, of the stealthy new jets, a key milestone for the $391 billion weapons project.



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