WASHINGTON -- The Marine Corps welcomes the decision to return the F-35 fleet to flight, and we look forward to resuming our training program as we work towards achieving USMC Initial Operating Capability in 2015. Today a joint US/UK decision was made not to participate in the final three days of Farnborough International Airshow 2014.
Considerations were made as to how long it would take to prepare the aircraft for return to flying against the time the aircraft would be able to participate in the show and the need to return to operational flying as quickly as possible in the US. The UK and US services have worked very closely throughout the planning process and, although disappointed that we were unable to demonstrate the next generation of combat airpower within the UK, this joint endeavor has forged even stronger relationships that will undoubtedly ensure success in the continued delivery of this outstanding capability.
On a related note, the Marine Corps will soon conduct a transcontinental redeployment of four F-35Bs from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland to their home base at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. The six-hour cross-country mission will include aerial refueling similar to what is required while transiting an ocean. Once back at their home station, the pilots and squadron will continue training and progress toward initial operational capability next summer.