WASHINGTON -- On 31 May 2013, the U.S. Marine Corps sent a letter to Congress saying they would reach F-35B initial operational capability between July and December 2015. For more than two years, the F-35 Joint Program Office, along with industry, has been working hand-in-hand with the Marines to achieve that goal. The fact the Marines reached IOC at the beginning of their six-month window is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the entire F-35 enterprise.
The U.S. Marine Corps decision to make the F-35B ready for combat is the first significant event for the program. The weapons system is now in the warfighters' hands and can be called upon to do its mission. The F-35 Joint Program Office, our industry partners, and the Marines have worked through a number of challenges as we focused on delivering a stealth fighter that could fly faster than the speed of sound, carry its weapons internally, conduct short take offs and vertical landings, and be deployed from amphibious ships and austere bases. It took an entire team effort to deliver the combat capability of the F-35B, and today we've done it.
Congratulations to the Marine Corps for leading the way. The F-35 government and industry team will continue to deliver on our commitments to field the world's finest combat aircraft for the United States and our allies.
— Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer