Military Aviation

US Marine Corps does not have enough pilots to fly the F-35B

USMC Commandant Gen. David Berger has warned that his service does not have enough pilots to fly the F-35B.

US Marine Corps (USMC) Commandant Gen. David Berger has warned that his service does not have enough pilots to fly the F-35B.

Berger made the revelation in the “Force Design 2030”, a 10-year force outlook plan.

“Our continued inability to build and sustain an adequate inventory of F-35 pilots leads me to conclude that we must be pragmatic regarding our ability to support,” Berger was quoted as saying.

As told by Breaking Defense, he calls for an external assessment of the aircraft’s place within the service relative to what he’s being asked to do in the National Defense Strategy and the forthcoming Joint Warfighting Concept, a document the Joint Staff is expected to wrap up later this year.

Besides pilot shortfalls, Berger points out high costs of maintaining and flying the F-35B as factors he’s weighing “in reconciling the growing disparity between numbers of platforms and numbers of aircrew.”

Berger also outlines in the new document that he has had enough of the service’s Abrams tanks. Although the tanks were effective in Iraq’s Anbar province, they would offer little utility on small islands in the Pacific. The USMC said in the document that a series of wargames conducted between 2018 and 2019 proved that the tanks are “operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35B Lighning II VMFA-121 Green Knights, VK00, 169164 / 2015

While questioning time-tested and iconic weapons like Abrams tanks, and the massive capabilities that the F-35 can bring, “they’re looking at the totality of the force” said Dakota Wood, senior research fellow for defense programs at The Heritage Foundation. “Berger has been very bold in saying we just can’t afford to have small batches of everything,” so he has set out on a path to bear down on what is most critical to fighting a war in the Pacific against a modern Chinese military

Even if the changes will be seen as early as the fiscal year 2022 budget, slated to drop next February, the new force design is slated to phase in over the next decade.

That gives the USMC months to build their case for reimagining the force, which includes buying new capabilities like mobile rocket artillery and long-range fires while scrapping legacy platforms like heavy- and medium-helicopter squadrons and towed artillery, Breaking Defense says. The plan also calls for eliminating law enforcement units, bridging companies, three infantry battalions, and anti-aircraft units.

General Dynamics, that produces the Abrams, Lockheed Martin, that builds the F-35, as well as the other major prime contractors who build the helicopters and ground vehicles and artillery systems to be tossed over the side and the lawmakers who have plants in their states and districts will certainly have opinions on these moves.

“There’s going to be a lot of pushback by people who aren’t up to speed on these current issues who are reaching back to their own previous references of 10, 20, 30, years ago,” Wood pointed out. “Tanks are awesome in urban warfare environments, but if you haven’t thought about the operating environment the Marine Corps will encounter in the near future, these ideas might be difficult to understand.” 

This model is available from AirModels! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

Video shows F-100 pilot crashing after fatal “Sabre Dance”

F-100 Super Sabre Developed as a follow-on to the F-86 Sabre used in the Korean War, the F-100 was… Read More

9 hours ago

FAA ATC recalls when a Tu-95 passed 1,000 feet above a DC-8 flying over the Atlantic. The DC-8 pilot reported hearing the Bear passing by.

The Tupolev Tu-95 The Tupolev Tu-95 (Russian: Туполев Ту-95; NATO reporting name: “Bear”) is a large, four-engine… Read More

1 day ago

[Video] Boeing teases F-15 Advanced Demo Team

F-15 Advanced Demo Team On May 24, 2024 Boeing released the cool video below on… Read More

2 days ago

89th Airlift Wing Pilot tells why Gold Medal Enriched Flour was used to remove Scuff Marks of the VC-137C Air Force One

The Boeing 707 Although not the first jet powered airliner, the Boeing 707 is easily… Read More

2 days ago

A rare sight: Brazilian Navy A-4 Skyhawk conducting a Wave-off Over the George Washington aircraft carrier

Brazilian Navy A-4 Skyhawk conducting a Wave-off Over the George Washington Taken on May 19,… Read More

2 days ago