After eighteen years of troubled and controversial development, the Lockheed F-35 Lightning stealth fighter may soon enter mass production, many of its bugs having been expensively squashed after delivery of an initial four-hundred "low-rate-of-initial-production" aircraft.
However, a June 2019 scoop by Defense News journalists Valerie Insinna, David Larter and Aaron Mehta has revealed thirteen serious Category-1 flaws remain.
The Marine Corps is offering up to $280,000 to certain pilots as it faces shortages in certain billets, Corps officials have announced.
"The aviation populations targeted are Captains (O-3s) and Majors (O-4s) within the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8 Harrier, MV-22 Osprey, C-130 Hercules, UH-1 Huey, AH-1 Cobra, and CH-53 Stallion communities," Lt. Gen. Michael Rocco, deputy commandant for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, said in a statement.
In February, the commander of the U.S. Naval Air Forces proclaimed that the Navy's F-35C Joint Strike Fighter was "ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win" — even though the Navy's own testing data says otherwise.
As it returns from its first combat deployment, the Marines' version of the F-35 is no longer a baby-faced boot.
F-35Bs flew more than 100 combat sorties against the Taliban and ISIS while deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, said Lt. Col. Kyle Shoop, commander of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211.