To facilitate testing of the aircraft’s VTOL capabilities in an expeditionary environment, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 constructed a 204 feet by 200 feet VTOL pad at the Strategic Expeditionary Landing Field. In addition, the support squadron constructed a 150 feet by 96 feet taxiway to connect the landing zone to the main landing field and hangar.Stick a fork in any talk of the F-35B being part of the "Expeditionary" Marine Corps. 17 days to build 200 square feet pad and a 150 foot taxiway? That's not fucking expeditionary! That's a steaming pile of bullshit!
“The primary purpose of this landing zone was to test the F-35B on this type of matting to ensure it would not melt during its VTOL,” said Lance Cpl. Stephen Garcas, surveying and drafting specialist, MWSS-374. “It certainly passed the test.”
According to Capt. Jonathan H. Royer, assistance operation officer, MWSS-374, the landing zone will serve for emergency purposes throughout the remainder of Steel Knight 16 but has the potential to be utilized in future training.
“Because this is the first time the F-35B is out here on an expeditionary landing field we built the [VTOL] Pad in the event that there is an emergency so they have more than one option to get the aircraft on the deck,” said Royer.
MWSS-374 undertook the project of creating the landing zone in just under two and a half weeks, a task that was projected to take two months. The task depended on the heavy equipment required, to remove four inches of concrete before any other work could be done on the site.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in the construction of a landing zone is getting the sand to compact as needed,” said Staff Sgt. John A. Vasquez, engineer equipment operator, MWSS-374. “It took my Marines 17 long days to ensure the pad was put together.”
But if you think that's bad it gets worse. The F-35 burns thru AM-2 matting like a crackhead on his drug of choice. Not that AM-2 matting is anything to brag about...the size of the pad being discussed above would weigh approximately 60 tons and compromise around 800 individual pieces to be assembled.
The F-35 IS NOT the right airplane for the USMC. It does not fit with any established concept of operations or ANY current or talked about warfighting doctrine. HQMC and the Assistant Commandant for Aviation is making this shit up as they go.
It's past time to stop wasting money on this substandard airplane. Give it to the Air Force, they might make it work, but it's too big a diva for the USMC.
Side Note: It's time to do a Marine Corps test. The F-35 should be tested against the latest version of the AV-8B in the roles that the Marine Corps needs. Close Air Support. I don't care about its ability to conduct deep strike. The USAF can have that ball. Fleet Defense and Air Superiority? Hey Navy! Have a good time. Putting steel on target in support of Marines on the ground? If the F-35 can't do it as well as the Harrier then scrap this POS. And if the testing is fair, the F-35 will lose every time.