BREAKING NEWS First case of UK COVID-19 variant found in Oregon Full Story

US F-35 fighter jet poised for combat debut

The US Marine Corps' stealth F-35B Lightning fighter jet could fly its first combat mission within days, acc...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 9:49 AM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 9:49 AM

The US Marine Corps' stealth F-35B Lightning fighter jet could fly its first combat mission within days, according to several US defense officials, who told CNN that the fifth-generation aircraft are currently aboard the USS Essex amphibious assault ship and should soon be in a position to conduct airstrikes over Afghanistan.

The USS Essex has already sailed from the Gulf of Aden into the North Arabian Sea and is expected to move into the Persian Gulf in coming days, one official said.

Aircraft

Armed forces

Aviation and aerospace industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Military

Military aircraft

Military operations

North America

The Americas

United States

Unrest, conflicts and war

US Department of Defense

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US Marine Corps

Marine transportation

Marine vessels

Military vessels

Transportation and warehousing

F-35 pilots have been conducting intelligence and surveillance missions in Somalia while on standby to conduct air support for US troops on the ground there if needed.

While available for support, the advanced fighter jet was not used in an airstrike over Somalia on Saturday that killed 18 militants after US and local forces came under attack.

In May, Israel Defense Forces said they were using their version of the F-35 in operational missions, striking at least two unspecified targets in the region.

That announcement marked the first time that the F-35 had been used in an actual combat situation -- a significant moment given the program's checkered past.

The F-35 fighter jet is touted as the future of military aviation; a lethal and versatile aircraft that combines stealth capabilities, supersonic speed, extreme agility and state-of-the-art sensor fusion technology, according to Lockheed Martin, the plane's primary contractor.

The F-35B is one of three variants of the F-35 aircraft and the only one with the ability to land vertically like a helicopter. It can also takeoff in a much shorter space than other fighter jets, which is why it can operate off the Essex, a warship only half the size of the 100,000-ton aircraft carriers in the US fleet.

However, the aircraft, which is the most expensive weapons system in history, has also drawn sharp criticism in recent years after facing a long list of setbacks -- including problems with software, engines and weapon systems.

And critics have continued to express skepticism about the F-35's combat capability despite reassurances by US military leaders who say the kinks are being worked out.

The US Marine Corps declared it's first squadron of F-35s ready for deployment in July 2015. The Air Force said its version of the aircraft was combat ready in August 2016.

The Marine Corps accomplished a significant milestone last year by deploying its variant to Japan -- the aircraft's first permanent overseas deployment.

The F-35 has been a favorite of President Donald Trump who has lauded the aircraft several times for being 'invisible." The aircraft has reduced capability to be seen by adversary radars but is not invisible.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the US Marine Corps was the first military service to declare their F-35s combat ready.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 130246

Reported Deaths: 1737
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah27890446
Washington18245166
Marion15878233
Clackamas11445134
Lane8042107
Jackson675782
Umatilla653065
Deschutes480532
Malheur311351
Yamhill309644
Linn304842
Polk236638
Klamath235230
Jefferson166125
Josephine164230
Benton164013
Douglas162943
Union108916
Wasco103723
Columbia100418
Lincoln96817
Hood River93121
Coos92314
Morrow9149
Clatsop6574
Crook5819
Baker5495
Tillamook3572
Curry3164
Lake2275
Grant1821
Harney1673
Wallowa923
Gilliam471
Sherman470
Wheeler191
Unassigned00
Eugene
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Corvallis
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 42°
Roseburg
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 51°
North Bend
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 44°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events