In 2018 the Marine Corps and Navy expect to mark a radical change in the capability of their joint formation, the Marine Expeditionary Unit/Amphibious Readiness Group (MEU/ARG). That year will see the Marine Corps deploy the fifth-generation short take-off and vertical landing F-35B aboard its fleet of amphibious assault ships. According to published reports, the USS Essex assault ship is being prepared for deployment with the F-35B to Central Command and the USS America will conduct an initial deployment with an F-35B squadron in the Pacific. As a result, the Marine Corps will be the first of the two Sea Services to actually provide fifth-generation capabilities to the Combatant Commands. I have written an article for the National Interest here.
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