18 April 2017

News Story: US Marines continue F-35B workup in Japan

A US Marine Corps F-35B hovers before landing
By: Mike Yeo

MELBOURNE, Australia — The first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter squadron to deploy overseas is continuing the type’s expeditionary workup, conducting training exercises to operate the aircraft in real-world scenarios while operating from austere locations. 

In separate news releases, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that the Green Knights of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 have carried out hot reloads and aviation-delivered ground refueling, or ADGR, training with its F-35Bs at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on April 6 and 11 respectively. 

A hot reload is the process of loading ordnance onto an aircraft while the pilot remains in the cockpit with the engine running. 

The ADGR exercise saw a Marine KC-130J Hercules tanker transfer fuel directly to the F-35B while both aircraft were on the ground. 

According to the Marines, this signified the first time the forward-deployed squadron loaded ordnance onto a running F-35B at Iwakuni in order to prepare for real-world scenarios, while the squadron’s first ADGR established flow rates of fuel in gallons per minute to determine how fast the process could be carried out. 

The Marines added that successfully completing the ADGR is a landmark that increases the capabilities of the squadron, offering the ability to refuel by C-130 aircraft in austere locations when other resources are unavailable.

Read the full story at DefenseNews