Faced with a budget that is not intended to increase, and the significant modernization needs facing the United States Marine Corps, its commander, General David Berger, plans to reduce, even remove, the F35B of his inventory. This statement, which has the effect of a small bomb in Washington, is as much to the difficulties encountered by the Corps to recruit and train pilots, as to the very high acquisition and maintenance prices which apply to the F35 , especially in its vertical takeoffs and landings version. To overcome the withdrawal of these aircraft, General Berger intends to rely on the new cooperative combat doctrine developed in the National Defense Strategy, currently being drafted at the Pentagon, and which must define the strategy and the precepts of the engagement of American forces, and consequently Western forces, in the years to come.
The hypothesis raised by General Berger is not surprising, having regard the restrictions the Marine Corps are about to engage in in the coming years to be able to return to its original mission, the amphibious assault, and be able to meet the challenge posed by Chinese forces in the Pacific. Handicapped by years of doctrinal as well as budgetary drifts, the American Marines must indulge in a drastic slimming program, giving up for example its heavy tanks or its heavy artillery which, one shall admit, is really very little useful to take assault beaches. On the other hand, renouncing the F35Bs would indeed be a blow for the fighter component of the Corps which had managed, since the entry into service of the Harrier, to have autonomous airborne support from its own assault ships.
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