Despite what critics might say, there is no such thing as too much stealth for America’s military pilots or for the sister-service branches.
The F-35 Lightning II has had a turbulent march towards combat readiness, and there are critiques that the fifth generation jet simply has too much stealth, technology, and capability for pilots to handle.
To that, the US Marine Corps top aviator says “that’s bologna.”
“Who knows where we are gonna fight next?” asked Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, during a discussion on the readiness and future of Marine aviation at the American Enterprise Institute on July 29.
“I know what the service culture is: anywhere, anytime, any place, against anybody. That’s why you have the Marine Corps … We need the electronic warfare capabilities that aeroplane delivers, it’s fantastic,” Davis said of the F-35.
At a cool $100 million a jet, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 was designed to marry stealth and avionics.
The fighter is equipped with radar-evading stealth, supersonic speed, and “the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history,” Jeff Babione, the head of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, said in a statement.
In short, the F-35 gives pilots the ability to see and not be seen.
What’s more, Davis added that the “jack-of-all-trades” jet proved to be “phenomenally successful” during testing. “It does best when it’s out front, doing the killing,” he said.
Davis, who has flown copilot in every type of model of tilt-rotor, rotary-winged, and tanker aircraft in the Marine inventory, said that the F-35 is a “jewel” and the Corps is excited about exploiting the fifth-generation jet’s capability.
“We are equipping these young Marines this generation that doesn’t know any bounds for technology and they’re leveraging this technology and doing great things,” Davis said.
At the end of his remarks, Davis shared a story from his last meeting with legendary Marine Corps aviator Frank Petersen, the first African-American Corps aviator and general, who passed away last year.
During his meeting with Petersen, Davis explained that the Marines were getting critiques for getting “too much technology,” like the F-35.
“I was shot down in Korea and shot down in Vietnam. Never once did I think I had too much technology under my rear end,” Petersen told Davis. “Go tell them they’re idiots,” he added.
On Tuesday, the US Air Force declared their first squadron of F-35A’s combat ready.
Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program’s executive officer, said that the Air Force’s decision to declare the F-35A’s initial operational capability (IOC) “sends a simple and powerful message to America’s friends and foes alike, the F-35 can do its mission.”
Similarly, Davis said that the Marine Corps is “kinda the insurance policy against the darkness that’s out there. I am totally confident in our track and our course.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.