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Marine Jets: The Good, Bad, and Ugly.

A4sForever

BTDT OLD GUY
pilot
Contributor
USMC aircraft??? Personally ... ??? :)

I'd have CNX'ed the USMC Harriers effective yesterday ... or decades ago ... as they've NEVER lived up to their original billing ... and I 'get it' in the sense that lots of USMC political capital and lots of USMC guys' careers have been tied to the AV8 for a loooo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong time ... BUT: if the USMC had kept the A-4 production line open (or a reasonable facimile: truth in disclosure; I'm not a Marine, coulda' been, didn't want to be if it wasn't Infantry, and I've no A-4 dog in the USMC air-to-ground 'hunt') over the past 30+ years --- the USMC would be miles ahead of the present-day air-to-ground power curve, both capability-wise, past-performance-wise, Gulf-War 1 (and 2?)-wise, all of the post-Vietnam 'skirmishes'-wise, and $$$$-wise ...

P.s. ... and before all you USMC Harrier-boys give me an informal anal-cavity exam ... a former A-4 driver/original cadre Harrier Wing Commander & classmate @ Yuma agreed w/ me. :)

Sorry to broach 'the obvious'. But since nobody gives a shit what I 'think', anyway ... and neither do I, most of the time :)... I'm just sayin' ... you know, just my $20 worth. :D

Discuss.

And flame on ... :sleep_125
 

yodaears

Member
pilot
It was floated around about 6 years ago under the TACAIR INTERGRATION PLAN. Word I heard was shift some of the Delta's to the reserves and make more active Charlie squadrons. Probably gone by the wayside since the Delta's are earning their pay in MNF-W.

From 2003:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200304/ai_n9204997/
USN/USMC TACAIR integration

If I'm reading this correctly, and I like to think that I am, then big navy is calling for USMC aircraft to fill the so called "fighter gap." This article talks about USMC JSFs as a part of CAWs which begs the question, are they talking about F-35Bs on big decks? Is that even feasible? As far as I know the Marine Corps is not looking to acquire F-35Cs which is too bad IMHO. Anyways, good article, thanks.
 

MasterBates

Well-Known Member
A4s, are you basically saying, while the Harrier is neat-o and such, we've never really had a use for it's unique capabilities and have been paying for them with it's short legs, lower speed, lower endurance and limited payload?

I think the fields we have used it out of operationally have been able to handle "conventional" aircraft, or at least would have been utilizing a field catapult/arresting gear expeditionary field setup.

The gap I see in it, is what for organic TACAIR from L-Class boats? Perhaps we should have installed cats and A-gear on the LHA/LHD boats, or just maybe the whole model was flawed?
 

A4sForever

BTDT OLD GUY
pilot
Contributor
A4s, are you basically saying, while the Harrier is neat-o and such, we've never really had a use for it's unique capabilities and have been paying for them with it's short legs, lower speed, lower endurance and limited payload?......maybe the whole model was flawed?
My point is oversimplified, sure ... but I think you've basically got the program (from my twisted 'whatever it takes to get the job done' perspective) figured out ...

Rock on ... :)
 

jarhead

UAL; retired hinge
pilot
Some Marine single seat squardons are flying trapped out hand-me-down Navy Hornets ... they don't go to the boat.

Only D's that go to the boat are at the RAG... fleet D squadrons don't go to the boat.

The Navy is pushing back waaay hard on F-35B going to the big boat. Right now, the F-35B exhaust in the hover gets hot enough to supposedly melt the deck of the small deck boat... but that's another issue...

on the topic of the F-35B, the Corps, as Boomer mentioned, has already selected the core group of instructors to start up the RAG at Eglin... this Aug, the Corps will be selecting some more dudes to transition (they'll all be flying the sim for the near future considering the F-35B has only flown a couple times, and hasnt hovered with a pilot at the controls, yet)... the first squadron, a Yuma Harrier sqd, is suppose to transition to the F-35B in 2012, around the same time (so the word on the street goes) that the first dudes out of Advanced jets will have the chance to select it ... we'll see!

S/F

As a marine that wants hornets and at least one boat tour, your point number one doesn't seem that bad. But where did you hear that? We don't have enough single seat sqdrns to cover all the CAWs and I have never heard of Deltas on the boat. So you would be implying that Deltas would be going to the boat? Or am I missing something completely?
 

vick

Esoteric single-engine jet specialist
pilot
None
Well I'm a former Harrier guy who had the luxury of making a choice - the board knew what was good for me and tried to give me Hornets West but I knew better. I'd read all about the MAGTF and thought the MEU sounded like a great concept (if I only knew then...). I really dug A/G in flight school. Not to mention that I was pretty impressed with all the Harrier IPs in flight school and wasn't very impressed by the Hornet IPs (just goes to show you how just a couple guys become delegates for a community). So I recited my rationale to the board, they gave me Harriers East - as I requested - and they told me not to say they hadn't told me so...and I walked right into the great Harrier Red Stripe of 1999/2000...

In hindsight though going Harriers was awesome. Obviously the program has some issues, including (arguably) some fundamental problems with doctrine that places so much emphasis on the necessity of VSTOL. As A4s aptly points out, they could have accomplished far more, far more efficiently, with a more cost effective attack platform. The Marine Corps is a niche service though which sees unique capabilities as their assurance of a continued existence - and even when they paint themselves into a corner (as they arguably did with the Harrier), they make omelettes out of broken eggs and often manage to outshine the competition.

One final point I will make is that my observation in flight school about the quality of the people in the Harrier program was accurate - possibly the best reason to go to any community is the people, and the Harrier community will not disappoint. Hornet guys who get bent easily will just have to get over the following - but there really is something to the Harrier cut. Sure you generally don't get the rockstars, they usually snag the Hornets west slot. But you also don't get the "congratulations, you (barely) got your wings, enjoy hornets!" What you end up with is a solid cross section of intelligent, motivated people that are great to work with.
 

RotorHead04

Patch Mafia
pilot
Some Marine single seat squardons are flying trapped out hand-me-down Navy Hornets ... they don't go to the boat.

Only D's that go to the boat are at the RAG... fleet D squadrons don't go to the boat.

The Navy is pushing back waaay hard on F-35B going to the big boat. Right now, the F-35B exhaust in the hover gets hot enough to supposedly melt the deck of the small deck boat... but that's another issue...

on the topic of the F-35B, the Corps, as Boomer mentioned, has already selected the core group of instructors to start up the RAG at Eglin... this Aug, the Corps will be selecting some more dudes to transition (they'll all be flying the sim for the near future considering the F-35B has only flown a couple times, and hasnt hovered with a pilot at the controls, yet)... the first squadron, a Yuma Harrier sqd, is suppose to transition to the F-35B in 2012, around the same time (so the word on the street goes) that the first dudes out of Advanced jets will have the chance to select it ... we'll see!

S/F

Some of the Test and Eval folks visited the Bataan to do research for the -35B. Aside from what has already been said about the melting deck issue (... history repeating itself?? When are they going to finally break down and put space shuttle tiles on the LHD?? Weren't the V-22 trials evidence enough??) the noise level is so high that during launch and recovery of a -35B, as of now, their recommendationt is that no one will be allowed to be topside. Of course, that's what they are saying now ... perhaps, instead, NAVAIR will start a project for new and improved hearing protection :icon_tong
 

Pap

Naval Aviator
pilot
TACAIR integration is getting looked at again with a skeptical eye.

That will happen when both services are running out of airframes at an alarming rate. No one wants to give up their toys when they themselves dont have enough to play with.
 

MojoLives

New Member
pilot
Lots of good info so far....here's my pitch. I can only speak from personal experience -- single-seat Beaufort squadron for 2 years with deployments to Denmark and a WestPac, plus the usual WTI and Desert Talon support det's -- 1 year in a D squadron with an Iraq deployment and another WTI, CAX (aka Mojave Viper) and the Desert Talon workup. In the straights we flew roughly 80% A-A. In the D's it was 80% A-G. A lot of what you fly depends on the upcoming deployment and the approach your PTO takes. My first couple of PTO's were of the opinion that A-A is more an of art and the only way to get good at it is to see as much of it as possible, where the A-G doesn't change much once you grasp the "basics". I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's just how we did business. Not much of an A-A threat in Iraq, so the D squadron was more interested in building Fac-A's and refining L-pod TTP's.

If you are married, Beaufort is a great place. I'm from the West Coast, so I spent most of my time on the road (or on deployment) or in Savannah (liked it better than Charleston). You are correct about the house/$ unless you are willing to commute from Temecula to Miramar -- don't laugh, lots of guys did it. A lot of guys lived in Bluffton (near Hilton Head)...about half of us lived on Lady's Island. The public education is better in SoCal, but the private schools near Beaufort are not bad. If you want the best public schools, you are going to have to live in Poway anyway (or get yourself back to Virginia).

Flight hours run around 15-20 per month at home (depending on if you are working up for a qual or not)....30 or so deployed....up to 50-60 for Iraq. This changes with every squadron and every deployment. You can ALWAYS get more hours at home if you are willing to go on the road. Beaufort squadrons usually stay somewhere between Pensacola, Key West (spent A LOT of weekends there), and Oceana. Miramar guys are all over the map. Beaufort's highest ranking officers are O-6's. The MAG CO and station CO. The atmosphere is DRASTICALLY different from Miramar due to the Flag being planted at CPt.

As far has selection goes -- make yourself available to train and be ready when the call comes. I "lucked" into a #1 slot and my choice of airframes because the other guy DQ'd at the boat. I thought I wanted Harriers right up till it was time to actually put it on paper -- and duty station did play a role in my decision. There were a couple of other dudes that winged near my time frame that were "low-ballers"...they intentionally tried to keep their NSS below the Harrier cut. Did they get Hornets? Yes. Did the RAG and everyone else know about HOW they got Hornets. You betcha. The first question I was asked when I checked into -101 was "what was your selection NSS?"...it matters.
 

Clux4

Banned
The noise level is so high that during launch and recovery of a -35B, as of now, their recommendationt is that no one will be allowed to be topside. Of course, that's what they are saying now ... perhaps, instead, NAVAIR will start a project for new and improved hearing protection :icon_tong

Are the local communities around base going to be complaining about the noise?
 

flyerstud4

Registered User
Awesome thread... I go to the boat next month and still on the fence for selection. For what its worth and what has happened last few selections, it seems that the Marines with scores around a 50 NSS pretty much all got harriers. But who knows next month everyone might get hornets.... or prowlers:icon_tong
 
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