DoD Announces Services’ F-35 IOC Dates
Marine Corps and Navy announce their F-35 Initial Operating
Air Force F-35A initial operational capability (IOC) shall be declared when the first operational squadron is equipped with 12-24 aircraft, and Airmen are trained, manned, and equipped to conduct basic Close Air Support (CAS), Interdiction, and limited Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD/DEAD) operations in a contested environment. Based on the current F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) schedule, the F-35A will reach the IOC milestone between August 2016 (Objective) and December 2016 (Threshold). Should capability delivery experience changes or delays, this estimate will be revised appropriately.
Marine Corps F-35B IOC shall be declared when the first operational squadron is equipped with 10-16 aircraft, and US Marines are trained, manned, and equipped to conduct CAS, Offensive and Defensive Counter Air, Air Interdiction, Assault Support Escort, and Armed Reconnaissance in concert with Marine Air Ground Task Force resources and capabilities. Based on the current F-35 JPO schedule, the F-35B will reach the IOC milestone between July 2015 (Objective) and December 2015 (Threshold). Should capability delivery experience changes or delays, this estimate will be revised appropriately.
Navy F-35C IOC shall be declared when the first operational squadron is equipped with 10 aircraft, and Navy personnel are trained, manned and equipped to conduct assigned missions. Based on the current F-35 JPO schedule, the F-35C will reach the IOC milestone between August 2018 (Objective) and February 2019 (Threshold). Should capability delivery experience changes or delays, this estimate will be revised appropriately.
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Lockheed Martin Statement on Department of Defense F-35 IOC Date Announcement
"We appreciate the confidence in the F-35 program expressed by the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy with the announcement of their Initial Operating Capability (IOC) dates today. Our top priority is to continue to execute our plan to support these IOC dates starting with the Marine Corps in December 2015. Lockheed Martin is committed to cost effectively delivering the F-35s unprecedented 5th generation capabilities to the warfighter."
Statements from Service and Program Officials
U.S. Air Force -
“The Air Force has spent the last six months looking at our initial capability requirements and the expected availability date. This announcement is exciting news for the Air Force. It highlights to members of Congress, our international partners, and the American public that the program is on track to bring the United States military and our allies this critical capability.”
- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley
“The F-35 is a vital capability that the nation needs to stay ahead of adversary technological gains, and it provides the multi-role capabilities that the anti-access and area denial environment of the future will require. We're excited that this program is on the road to success, and we're grateful that our international partners remain as committed to this program as we are.”
- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
U.S. Marine Corps -
"Our nation expects us to make informed decisions about employing the best capabilities to support our national security strategy. The F-35 is our country's best hedge against the ever-evolving and unknown threats posed by our adversaries."
- Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle, Marine Corps Deputy Commandant of Aviation
U.S. Navy -
"The F-35C represents a critical capability, really a revolutionary capability that will significantly enhance the ability of our carrier air wings to continue to operate in contested battlespace. We look forward to introducing and fully integrating this important capability into our air wings."
- Rear Admiral Bill Moran, Chief of Naval Operations' Director of Air Warfare.
F-35 Joint Program Office -
“Today’s IOC announcement from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy demonstrates the confidence they have in the F-35 program and the capabilities it will bring to the warfighter. I believe the aircraft design and technological capabilities of the F-35 are sound and the Joint Program Office will deliver on our commitments to meet service timelines.”
- Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer