This is a pretty wild idea — the USMC flying the Air Force’s premier fighter jet.
One Marine is suggesting that is a possible option if the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter falls victim to budget cuts.
From Maj. Christopher Cannon in Marine Corps Gazette:
On the high end, the Marine Corps could opt for the most capable AAW platform available, the F–22. Embracing an aircraft Congress recently voted to stop producing may seem like an extreme course of action, but it makes the most sense for the Marine Corps for several reasons. First, F–22s could be purchased now and would be cheaper initially and cost less to maintain than F–35s in the future.
Most significantly, the F–22 dwarfs the F–35 in stealth, speed, survivability, deployability, and firepower. With a more mature and more powerful active electronically scanned array radar, and with planned upgrades, the F–22 is a more credible and less risky investment to fulfill the VMAQ’s AEA mission. The F–22 also represents a better platform for AEA upgrades.
Significantly, this course of action would accept providing only 11 fifth-generation fighter-capable carriers. It may also require making inroads in positioning Marine F–22s in more expeditionary stations than those in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Virginia, where all F–22 aircraft are currently stationed. Forward postured Marine F–22s could provide the Nation with greater strategic reach than amphibious-based F–35Bs. With a supercruise speed of 1,220 miles per hour, an aerial refueled F–22 could make the 1,700-mile transit from Guam to Taiwan in less than 2 hours.
Cannon goes on to say the service could buy about 60 F-22s and a number of turboprop light attack planes to complement the 50 F-35C carrier variant JSFs that it’s slated to recieve.
Pretty strong stuff coming from a Marine whose service leaders say there is no plan B for the B-model JSF. The whole concept of Marines buying F-22s brings up a ton of questions, so read more on this story at sister site DoDBuzz.
Sound off on whether you think this is a good idea in the poll after the jump.