The U.S. Marine Corps announced today that the third Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122) conducted first ever F-35B flights to support expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO) on narrow, shortened runways at Yuma, California.
The flights were conducted at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, California, on April 6, 2021.
“The bottom-line is that the F-35B gives us the capability to go where others can’t or won’t and it brings fifth generation combat power with it,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, Commanding General of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing.
Tactics that utilize short field landing and takeoffs ensure that the Marine Corps is able to operate in any location, even those that have been damaged from combat or regions that simply do not possess the infrastructure to build and maintain traditional airfields. The ability to perform flight operations utilizing the F-35B’s short take-off and vertical landing capabilities will allow the pilots to utilize non-traditional runways in any battlespace, such as highways, roads or other surfaces, greatly expanding the Marine Corps ability to project combat power, the service said in a release.
“We are doing a concept demonstration for capability intended for forward base operations in the F-35 aircraft landing on short fields with confined space, much like we would find in places around the world that don’t have full runways and that require the unique capabilities of the F-35B and its short take-off and vertical landing characteristics,” said Col. Ben Hutchins, Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 13. “Today’s operations are another step towards F-35B expeditionary road operations, which facilitate Pacific expeditionary advanced base operations to narrow roads and landing areas.”