"The U.S. Marine Corps will phase out the Boeing AV-8B Harrier II jump jet by 2025 — about five years earlier than planned — and will instead extend the life of its fleet of aging Boeing F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters, according to the service’s recently released 2015 aviation plan. USNI NEWS"
Image PD (DOD)
You may read both the recent article by the U.S. Naval Institute News and the full Marine Corps 201 5 aviation plan via the links above. For the record we want to express concern for any diminishment in the use and further development of STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) warbirds in the fleet. STOVL is the enabling technology that allows us to turn our numerous flat deck amphibious warfare ships into virtual "jeep carriers" in the event of casualties or further reductions is our barely adequate fleet of big deck air craft carriers. STOVL aircraft also male our helicopter carrying amphibs intrinsically capable of providing their own "high cover". STOVL aircraft can also operate from from fairly primitive and hastily assembled airfields ashore. Generally STOVOL air craft don't fly as far or as fast as our more advanced non STOVL fighters and fighter bombers but they are quite credible fighter aircraft and the only air craft of choice when "jeep carriers' are needed fast, operations must proceed using primitive air fields, or Amphibs need organic high air cover. STOVOL technology must continue to advance and production lines must remain ready. That's our cautionary note to this latest news in defense budget reductions with no relevant cut in threats to national security.
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