Marines To Test Lightning Carrier Concept With 20 F-35Bs Aboard USS Tripoli This April

War Zone – Early this coming April, United States Marine Corps F-35Bs from three squadrons will converge aboard the USS Tripoli (LHD-7) to fully test the ‘Lightning Carrier’ concept. The idea to basically turn big-deck “Gator Navy” amphibious assault ships into light aircraft carriers packed with F-35Bs first emerged five years ago, but it has its roots in AV-8 Harrier operations going back decades. A whopping 20 F-35Bs will be conducting sustained operations followed by surge operations from the USS Tripoli. The event will test the ability of the Marines to operate two full F-35B squadrons from one ship at one time and could have major impacts on what the stealthy jets, and the ships they deploy on, can bring to the fight in the future.