Top Marine: No Need To Change Deploying Groups

Defense News – The 2,500-person Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is the basic formation of regularly-deploying US Marine Corps units, typically embarked aboard a three-ship US Navy amphibious ready group (ARG) that deploys for six months or more at a time. But the various units that make up the MEU are often called on to carry out missions hundreds of miles apart, even thousands of miles. It’s not unusual that the MEU and ARG, which together train before the deployment to operate as a single unit, split up once in theater to the point where the three ships might not even see each other for months. So does it make sense to continue that MEU/ARG construct? Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Corps, says yes.

F-35B Tactics Evolving As Pilots’ Understanding Of Technology Matures

USNI News – The Marine Corps’ top aviator said the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter pilots have matured in their understanding of the new platform in the year since the service declared initial operational capability (IOC), pushing themselves to push past planned tactics and create a new way of using the fifth-generation technology.

Navy Digging Out Of Fighter Shortfall; Marines Still Struggling To Fly At Home

USNI News – A three-pronged approach is helping the Navy keep its strike fighter inventory shortfall at a “manageable” level –speeding up legacy Hornet life extension work, preparing to conduct the Super Hornet life extension program more efficiently, and buying new Super Hornets – though the Marines’ legacy Hornet fighter inventory is so strained there are hardly any planes available for day-to-day squadron training.

Kearsarge ARG, 26th MEU Return to East Coast; Artillery Detachment Remains in Iraq

USNI News – Sailors and Marines assigned to the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will begin returning from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East starting today. However, an artillery detachment from the 26th MEU assigned to a collation fire support base in Iraq will remain until an unnamed Army unit relieves them.

U.S. Ospreys win Japanese hearts and minds with quake relief flights

Reuters – The U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey aircraft has been a lightning rod for opposition to U.S. bases in Japan since 24 of them were deployed on the southern island of Okinawa in 2014. By sending eight of the tilt-rotor Ospreys to help with relief efforts for survivors of recent earthquakes on Kyushu island, both U.S. and Japanese military planners have been able to showcase an aircraft they see as necessary for Japan’s defense.

Unready for War: America’s F-35 Gets a Bad Report Card

National Interest – Last July, the United States Marine Corps declared their short takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) version of the stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter operational. However, a new Pentagon operational test and evaluation report shows that the jet is far from ready. Even at the time, many had suspected that the service’s initial operational capability (IOC) was more hope than reality—now there is data to back that up.

Marine Corps Aviation Must Adapt To Become More ‘Value-Added’ to Naval Force

USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps should explore ways to make Marine aircraft a more useful part of the naval battle force – using alternate mixes of aircraft types on amphibious ship flight decks, finding additional missions for those aircraft, and pursuing increased connectivity to the rest of the naval fleet.