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US military services announce Initial Operational Capability dates for Joint Strike Fighter aircraft
US Marines' F‐35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter initial operational capability in 2015 / US Air Force expects F‐35A Lightning II initial operational capability in December 2016 / US Navy F‐35C will reach initial operational capability by February 2019
The report provides the initial capability requirements and the expected availability dates for the Joint Strike Fighters being prepared for each military service. Based on the F‐35 Joint Program Office schedule, the United States Marine Corps F‐35B will reach the IOC milestone by December 2015, while the Air Force F‐35A will reach the IOC milestone by December 2016. The F‐35C, attached to Navy carrier air wings, will reach the IOC milestone by February 2019.
Quickstep managing director Philippe Odouard said: "We are pleased that the F‐35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which is the largest military aerospace program in the world, has now confirmed the IOC dates. This joint report establishes the initial operating capability dates for each military service, including the number of JSF aircraft and availability of trained, manned and equipped servicemen.
"The joint announcement, together with the US Air Force's planned procurement quantities FY 2014, highlights that the JSF program is on track and increases the certainty of anticipated production orders for Quickstep. Having commenced delivery of JSF parts in April 2012, and following the recent Northrop Grumman announcement of full qualification of the Bankstown site, Quickstep is now increasing JSF production to achieve peak production rates of approximately $40 million per annum by 2018. The F‐35 Joint Strike Fighter is the only fifth‐generation, stealthy, multi‐role fighter now in production in the Western world.
The JSF program is being developed for the US and eight international partner nations, including Australia. Two additional countries, Japan and Israel, have recently selected the JSF for their armed forces.
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