Third Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122) conducted its first ever F-35B flights to support expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO) on narrow, shortened runways at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, California, April 6, 2021. This training provides the pilots of VMFA-122 the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to project fifth generation combat power into some of the most austere and degraded operating environments around the world.
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.
“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. 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.” said Col. Ben Hutchins, Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 13.
The Marines of 3d MAW continue to make strides in training to ensure they remain part of the most lethal naval force in the world, able to operate in any clime or place, even locations that have been degraded by adversaries in an attempt to deny U.S. forces access. The Marine Corps transition to the F-35B has brought with it revolutionary advancements in technology that have enabled squadrons like VMFA-122 to refine their tactics in any location, against any peer threat. 3rd MAW continues to “Fix, Fly and Fight” as the Marine Corps’ largest aircraft wing, and remains combat-ready, deployable on short notice, and lethal when called into action.