SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
CLOSINGS: View Closings

US F-35 fighter jet poised for combat debut

The US Marine Corps' stealth F-35B Lightning fighter jet could fly its first combat mission within days, acc...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 11:49 AM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 11:49 AM

The US Marine Corps' stealth F-35B Lightning fighter jet could fly its first combat mission within days, according to several US defense officials, who told CNN that the fifth-generation aircraft are currently aboard the USS Essex amphibious assault ship and should soon be in a position to conduct airstrikes over Afghanistan.

The USS Essex has already sailed from the Gulf of Aden into the North Arabian Sea and is expected to move into the Persian Gulf in coming days, one official said.

Aircraft

Armed forces

Aviation and aerospace industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Military

Military aircraft

Military operations

North America

The Americas

United States

Unrest, conflicts and war

US Department of Defense

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US Marine Corps

Marine transportation

Marine vessels

Military vessels

Transportation and warehousing

F-35 pilots have been conducting intelligence and surveillance missions in Somalia while on standby to conduct air support for US troops on the ground there if needed.

While available for support, the advanced fighter jet was not used in an airstrike over Somalia on Saturday that killed 18 militants after US and local forces came under attack.

In May, Israel Defense Forces said they were using their version of the F-35 in operational missions, striking at least two unspecified targets in the region.

That announcement marked the first time that the F-35 had been used in an actual combat situation -- a significant moment given the program's checkered past.

The F-35 fighter jet is touted as the future of military aviation; a lethal and versatile aircraft that combines stealth capabilities, supersonic speed, extreme agility and state-of-the-art sensor fusion technology, according to Lockheed Martin, the plane's primary contractor.

The F-35B is one of three variants of the F-35 aircraft and the only one with the ability to land vertically like a helicopter. It can also takeoff in a much shorter space than other fighter jets, which is why it can operate off the Essex, a warship only half the size of the 100,000-ton aircraft carriers in the US fleet.

However, the aircraft, which is the most expensive weapons system in history, has also drawn sharp criticism in recent years after facing a long list of setbacks -- including problems with software, engines and weapon systems.

And critics have continued to express skepticism about the F-35's combat capability despite reassurances by US military leaders who say the kinks are being worked out.

The US Marine Corps declared it's first squadron of F-35s ready for deployment in July 2015. The Air Force said its version of the aircraft was combat ready in August 2016.

The Marine Corps accomplished a significant milestone last year by deploying its variant to Japan -- the aircraft's first permanent overseas deployment.

The F-35 has been a favorite of President Donald Trump who has lauded the aircraft several times for being 'invisible." The aircraft has reduced capability to be seen by adversary radars but is not invisible.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the US Marine Corps was the first military service to declare their F-35s combat ready.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 270157

Reported Deaths: 3297
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin579261084
Ramsey24528470
Anoka19211213
Dakota18738176
Washington12351104
Stearns1200389
Scott735654
St. Louis712297
Wright646135
Olmsted604730
Sherburne499538
Clay435954
Carver397312
Blue Earth367011
Rice350331
Kandiyohi337613
Crow Wing306729
Nobles293828
Chisago27778
Benton256338
Otter Tail251415
Winona240928
Mower232822
Polk222221
Douglas211929
Morrison207521
Lyon189810
McLeod18089
Beltrami177115
Goodhue173126
Becker16769
Itasca165223
Steele16396
Todd161412
Isanti159115
Carlton148310
Nicollet144523
Freeborn13625
Mille Lacs129030
Le Sueur12899
Waseca128710
Pine11625
Cass11538
Brown112610
Meeker10117
Martin97020
Roseau9443
Hubbard92822
Wabasha8961
Dodge7770
Watonwan7604
Redwood75118
Chippewa7437
Renville68818
Sibley6844
Cottonwood6800
Wadena6706
Pipestone65618
Aitkin64722
Rock6259
Houston6012
Fillmore5910
Yellow Medicine55310
Unassigned52756
Murray5173
Pennington5076
Kanabec49711
Swift4835
Faribault4650
Pope4620
Stevens4342
Clearwater4156
Marshall4047
Jackson3981
Lake3463
Koochiching3275
Wilkin3175
Lac qui Parle3123
Lincoln3081
Norman3006
Big Stone2711
Mahnomen2404
Grant2256
Red Lake1833
Kittson1786
Traverse1190
Lake of the Woods821
Cook570

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 210482

Reported Deaths: 2173
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk31270322
Linn13252158
Scott1022075
Black Hawk10209126
Woodbury9870111
Johnson900835
Dubuque866490
Story637819
Dallas595555
Pottawattamie574666
Sioux349925
Webster330928
Marshall327841
Cerro Gordo323041
Clinton303637
Buena Vista290214
Muscatine266964
Des Moines266116
Plymouth257937
Warren254610
Wapello239971
Jones221112
Jasper202739
Marion191518
Carroll188220
Lee188015
Bremer176012
Henry16847
Crawford168215
Benton157414
Tama145140
Jackson13608
Delaware134721
Boone127711
Washington126513
Dickinson126210
Mahaska119027
Wright11425
Buchanan10789
Page10774
Hardin105810
Clay10434
Harrison101428
Clayton10084
Cedar98913
Hamilton9877
Mills9806
Calhoun9787
Fayette9588
Lyon9458
Floyd92614
Kossuth9214
Poweshiek91512
Butler8943
Winneshiek88910
Winnebago87423
Iowa86711
Louisa79916
Hancock7947
Chickasaw7853
Grundy77310
Sac7617
Cherokee7484
Cass73519
Appanoose7336
Shelby7184
Allamakee71111
Mitchell7074
Emmet70123
Guthrie69215
Union6866
Franklin67619
Humboldt6495
Madison6414
Jefferson6121
Palo Alto6044
Unassigned5810
Keokuk5237
Pocahontas5072
Howard4999
Osceola4941
Greene4860
Clarke4564
Ida42810
Monroe42812
Montgomery42610
Davis4225
Taylor4162
Adair4066
Monona3912
Fremont3432
Worth3330
Van Buren3294
Lucas3056
Decatur2950
Wayne2836
Audubon2811
Ringgold1832
Adams1521
Rochester
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 21°
Mason City
Overcast
33° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Albert Lea
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 25°
Austin
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 26°
Charles City
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 23°
Rain and Snow Moving In For Tuesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Aaron's Monday Night Forecast

Image

TIC preseason projections

Image

Austin Bruins announce weekend plans

Image

Teams begin to navigate the pause on sports

Image

Rochester to Create Liquor License Fee Relief Program

Image

A "Thank You" to health care workers

Image

Business operators react to Governor's latest plans

Image

Aaron's Monday Evening Forecast

Image

Food insecurity in younger adults.

Image

Food insecurity survey with University of Minnesota

Community Events