Summer Fury 2021 truly is an expression of greatness: the largest marine aircraft wing (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing) is demonstrating warfighter readiness in the largest Marine aviation exercise on the West Coast. This is the best opportunity for 3rd MAW to refine its tactics and the use of its capabilities, while showcasing the entire range of its aviation combat power.
The exercise kicked-off with the execution of a long-range maritime strike against a simulated naval surface target, from July 7 to July 9. The stars of the show were the F/A-18C Hornets and F-35B Lighting IIs, which were used to conduct the strike operations.
Known as the most advanced fighter jet in the world, the F-35 Lightening seems to really embody 3rd MAW’s motto “Fix, Fly and Flight”. The F-35B Lighting II is the short takeoff/vertical landing variant in the Lockheed Martin family of 3 F-35s, together with the main F-35A (with conventional takeoff and landing), and the F-35C carrier.
If the F-35A (which had its first flight in 2006) is known to be a U.S. Air Force fighter, the F-35B is the Marine Corps fighter (while the F-35C, which only entered service a couple of years ago, is used by the U.S. Navy).
An important part of the long-range maritime strike demonstration was practicing the establishment of forward arming and refueling points (FARPs), air refueling and loading the aircraft with airborne weapons.
According to 3rd MAW, air refueling in particular is an essential asset that enables the U.S. Marine Corps to “dominate in a maritime hybrid warfare, rather than the massive naval conflicts of World War II”. Simply put, hybrid warfare implies that the enemy is playing dirty and going beyond standard military tactics, to covert methods, explosive devices, cyber-attacks and much more.
Summer Fury 21 will continue until the end of July, with 3rd MAW squadrons demonstrating several combat scenarios on various terrains, which will culminate with a missile shoot. Throughout all of this, the F-35B Lighting II will have a great opportunity to display its capabilities.