The Marine Corps conducted its first successful live ordnance drops from a F-35B
in late June, the USMC announced on Friday
. The Joint Strike Fighters dropped both inert and live ordnance, which consisted of JDAM
GPS-guided munitions in both GBU-12 and GBU-32 configurations. The Marine Corps decided in May
to push on
towards the F-35B's Initial Operating Capability (IOC) objective timetabled for 1 July, despite the unearthing of software problems. While it appears that the 1 July objective IOC date has now been missed, the jet has until December
to achieve this milestone, with the dropping of live ordnance reportedly one of the last remaining items on a checklist of required capability tests required for IOC.
In a damning report obtained by War is Boring
, the F-35A
was out-performed by a F-16D in a mock dogfight in January. The newer jet failed to manoeuvre fast or agile enough to defeat the older fighter, despite the F-16 flying with two external fuel tanks. The unnamed pilot listed off numerous serious problems with the fighter, including a low nose climb rate and a cramped cockpit space, as well as other manoeuvrability issues reducing the ability of the pilot to see and kill the older jet, an issue that has come up before. On Monday Lockheed Martin was handed a $19.6 million contract modification
to provide requirements development and maturation efforts for the Joint Strike Fighter.