USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories 2017: Navy Acquisition, International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
For the Marine Corps, 2017 represented a major step towards achieving the vision of future operations it laid out in last year’s Marine Corps Operating Concept. It deployed its F-35B Joint Strike Fighter around the globe, sent the first-in-class USS America (LHA-6) on its maiden deployment to the Pacific and the Middle East, and conducted a massive amount of experimentation to understand the technologies, skills and procedures the service would need to fight and win in the future.
Marine Corps F-35Bs drop ordnance over the Pilsung Range, Republic of Korea on Aug. 30. Republic of Korea Photo
Marine, South Korean and Japanese fighters and two Air Force bombers conducted a show of force operation over Japan and bombing practice over South Korea, U.S. Pacific Command announced on Thursday. Read More
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 “Red Devils” departs the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 24, 2017. US Marine Corps photo.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Marine Corps could save about a billion dollars, reduce risk for pilots seeing too few flight hours each month and bring additional high-end capability to the fleet if the service were able to buy its F-35B and C Joint Strike Fighters at a faster pace, the deputy commandant for aviation said on Tuesday. Read More
The following is Jan. 18, 2017 footage of two F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters arriving at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Read More
USS AMERICA, At Sea – An F-35B Lightning II aircraft completes Envelope Expansion Testing during a Short Take-off Vertical Landing aboard USS America, Oct. 30, 2016. US Marine Corps Photo
This post has been updated with an additional comment from VMFA-121’s operation officer.
Ten of the Marine Corps’ newest fighter jets took off from the runway at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Ariz., on Monday and began the long trans-Pacific flight to their squadron’s new home in Japan, service officials announced today. Read More
Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey on Jan. 2, 2016. US Marine Corps Photo
This post has been modified to reflect that only USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3) will be modified to support MV-22 operations, not the Navy’s two Expeditionary Transfer Dock ships.
THE PENTAGON – Marine Corps operations are set for some big changes in 2017 with the deployment of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter overseas, a move towards distributed operations as called for in the Marine Corps Operating Concept, and the potential addition of more ships to move Marines around high-threat areas, the deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations told USNI News. Read More
Peter “Wizzer” Wilson and Maj. John Dirk arrive aboard USS America for STOVL DT-III, 28 October 2016. US Navy photo.
This article is the first in a two-part series on the future of Marine Corps aviation. To read about how MAWTS-1 is discovering how to best integrate the F-35B and other weapons systems for a high-end air fight, please click this link.
ABOARD USS AMERICA, OFF THE COAST OF CALIFORNIA – After years of testing to make sure the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and its subsystems work as designed, the Marine Corps has a contingent of pilots and maintainers aboard USS America (LHA-6) now to ensure the new plane can operate from the amphibious ship, in a final test period ahead of next year’s first deployment. Read More
An F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 takes off during exercise Red Flag 16-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 20. This is the first time that the fifth generation fighter has participated in the multiservice air-to-air combat training exercise. US Marine Corps photo.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Marine Corps’ top aviator said the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter pilots have matured in their understanding of the new platform in the year since the service declared initial operational capability (IOC), pushing themselves to push past planned tactics and create a new way of using the fifth-generation technology. Read More