Marines Upgrading Today’s Aircraft To Prepare For Tomorrow’s Distributed, High-End Fight

USNI News – The Marine Corps released its 2017 Marine Aviation Plan today, outlining its upcoming aircraft acquisition and upgrade plans and providing a glimpse of how those new capabilities will come together in various operational scenarios.

For Want of a Broadside: Why the Marines Need More Naval Fire Support

CIMSEC – According to the 2016 Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC), the greatest risk to the Marine Corps is that it becomes unbalanced in its development as a force that is at once naval, expeditionary, agile, and lethal.1 Four decades of institutional neglect of naval surface fire support (NSFS) has led to precisely that: the Corps is over-reliant on aviation and cruise missiles to provide fires in a non-permissive maritime domain. Without investment in NSFS solutions that balance capability and capacity, the Marine Corps will be constrained in its ability to maneuver at sea, leaving Marines ill-equipped to fight and win in the future operating environments the MOC predicts.

Marines with 11th MEU Join the Ground Fight in Syria

USNI News – An undisclosed number of Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Syria recently to join U.S. forces and local forces poised to push Islamic State militants out of the city of Raqqa.

Marine Aviation, Weapons Upgrades Would Support Advance Base Operations

USNI News – A future naval campaign against an enemy armed with long-range precision weapons will require the Navy and Marine Corps to disaggregate, creating temporal sea and air control with small units that can move from the sea to the shore and back again to meet an objective and then move on to the next task.

In Between Carriers, 11th MEU, Makin Island ARG Are Busy In 5th Fleet

USNI News – The new year began with no U.S. aircraft carrier and carrier strike group on watch in the Middle East. But the volatile Middle East region wasn’t devoid of U.S. military projection from the sea. For almost two months – and through the nation’s transition to a new administration – the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard the three-ship Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, has been standing post.

Science Fiction Futures

Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory – A collection of science fiction stories written by Marines and other service members from an Art of the Future Project and Marine Corps Warfighting Lab workshop.

The F-35B Just Got A Lot Deadlier

Defense One – In a proof-of-concept experiment, data passed instantly from a Marine Corps fighter allowed a shipboard Aegis system to shoot down a drone.

A Bridgehead Too Far? CSBA’s Aggressive, Risky Strategy For Marines

Breaking Defense – Marines are famously aggressive, but a new battle plan from a leading thinktank makes Iwo Jima look low-risk. The Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments’ proposed concept of operations is imaginative, exciting and more than a little scary.

MAWTS-1 Advancing F-35B, Marine Aviation Operations For Future Fight

USNI News – In a glimpse of what the future of Marine Corps aviation could bring, this fall F-35B Joint Strike Fighters were operating at long ranges with the MV-22 Osprey, passing information to other aircraft and to ground forces with tablets. Unmanned aerial vehicles provided intelligence, and precision rockets hit targets in dense urban areas. At Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-One (MAWTS-1) and its semi-annual Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, top aviators from around the fleet not only trained to high-end warfighting scenarios but also help advance tactics to keep up with real-world developments and conduct experiments with emerging technologies that could give Marines in the air and on the ground an edge on the battlefield.

Marines Refining F-35B Operations, Maintenance At Sea During Final Developmental Test

USNI News – After years of testing to make sure the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and its subsystems work as designed, the Marine Corps has a contingent of pilots and maintainers aboard USS America (LHA-6) now to ensure the new plane can operate from the amphibious ship, in a final test period ahead of next year’s first deployment.

USS Wasp to Japan Next Year in Support of Marine F-35B Squadron Next Year; USS Bonhomme Richard to San Diego

USNI News – Next year the Navy will relocate big deck amphib USS Wasp (LHD-1) from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. to a new homeport in Sasebo, Japan as the USS Wasp has been recently modernized to accommodate the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B).

Distributed STOVL Operations and Air-Mobility Support

US Naval War College Review – This article examines the logistical support requirements of distributed short-takeoff–vertical-landing (STOVL) operations (DSOs) by U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighters, and alternative solutions to fulfilling those requirements.

New jet will likely change how America fights wars

San Diego Union Tribune – A look at what current US Marine F-35 pilots think of their new aircraft.

Mini-Drones & Bayonets: New Marine Warfare Concept

Breaking Defense – After a generation spent fighting guerrillas, the Marines have just rolled out a new concept for high-tech combat against a nation-state — a concept they’re developing in unusually close concert with the Army and Navy.

ARG/MEUs are Key ‘Theater Mobile Forces’

USNI News – The 13th MEU and Boxer ARG left San Diego on Feb. 12 for the seven-month deployment that was busy, with air strike missions supporting coalition forces fighting Islamic State in northern Iraq, amphibious war games in and around the Korean peninsula and training with partner militaries in Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Underway on USS America

USNI News – The new amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) has raised more than a few questions in its short life, with sailors and Marines alike wondering what it will mean to have an amphibious ship without a well deck and therefore without the ability to deploy landing craft to move heavy tanks and equipment ashore.

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.

Focus on the Marines

USNI Proceedings – There is a dangerous disconnect between Marine aviation readiness levels and calls for increased mission versatility; ‘something has to give.’

Marine Harriers Strike ISIS Targets in Libya from USS Wasp

USNI News – Marine AV-8B Harriers operating from USS Wasp (LHD-1) have struck ISIS targets Libya.

Marines, Navy To Create Southern Pacific ARG/MEU Rotation By 2019

USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps will deploy a second Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit team to the Southern Pacific beginning as early as 2019, to allow the Japan-based forward deployed forces to focus on the northern and eastern parts of the vast Asia-Pacific theater.

This aging amphib will soon take on ISIS. Here’s how sailors and Marines got it ready for the fight

Marine Corps Times – The Islamic State group is about to feel the sting of this 27-year-old gator as it heads out on its first major deployment in more than a decade.

Marines To Add ‘Harvest Hawk’ Weapons Kit to Entire C-130J, V-22 Fleets

USNI News – The Marine Corps intends to add improved sensors and precision-strike capability to its entire KC-130J Super Hercules tanker/transport plane and MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor fleets, applying the “Harvest Hawk” concept to make both aircraft more multi-mission.

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.