F-35B fighter becomes operational for US Marine Corps

Rolls-Royce congratulated the United States Marine Corps for the stand-up and dedication of its first operational squadron of F-35B Lightning II aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

Tom Hartmann, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President – Defence, called it a "significant milestone", as military aviation "leaps forward into a new era."

"We're proud to support the Marine Corps during this important transition from training to tactical aviation in the F-35B," he added.

Through the unique Rolls-Royce LiftSystem®, the F-35B will provide Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) capability to the US Marine Corps and other customers, including the UK and Italy. The LiftSystem is the only vertical lift technology for future fighter jets in the world, and is produced at Rolls-Royce facilities in the UK and US.

The LiftSystem comprises the LiftFan™, roll posts, 3 Bearing Swivel Module (3BSM) and shaft connecting it to the F-35B's engine. The Rolls-Royce team in Bristol is responsible for the LiftFan turbomachinery, 3BSM and roll post designs. Component manufacture also takes place at Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.

The US Marine Corps is the first customer to receive the F-35B model and the jets are the beginning of the first operational fleet for the F-35 programme, and will be part of the newly re-designated VMFA-121 aircraft squadron at MCAS Yuma in Arizona.

Rolls-Royce will support VMFA-121 through technical assistance and Field Service Representatives at MCAS Yuma.

MCAS Yuma is scheduled to receive four operational squadrons of up to 16 F-35s each, plus an Operational Test and Evaluation squadron with up to eight aircraft.

Image copyright of Lockheed Martin

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