Even more important, the US will not have enough EA-6B aerial jammers to perform all needed missions by 2009, and only the Phase-3 version of the F-35 can be developed into a aerial jammer, and it won't even be available to start such development until 2012, the only real choice for a new aerial jammer is the FA-18F. That will mean more production must be
started.--Stephen V Cole
The Marines are marshalling their forces to resist the attack by their most insidious enemy: the US Navy. The Navy wants to cut back or eliminate the vertical take-off version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in order to provide more money to buy two-seat FA-18F strike fighters and EA-18 electronic jammer aircraft. The Marines are asking their allies in Congress to force the Navy to admit their plans, and then to exert pressure to keep plans for the vertical-take-off version intact even if it costs the Navy some FA-18s. The Navy is reportedly going to suggest that new carriers be multi-mission large-deck ships, eliminating the need for special smaller amphibious carriers that could only carry vertical take-off fighters. The Navy says that the Afghan War proves the need for two-seat fighters to handle missions such as forward air control, hard-target attack (where the back-seat pilot guides the precision-guided bomb to a pinpoint target), and coordinating rescue missions. Only two-seat fighters can manage the rapid communications with the air operations center on the ground to get release to attack newly-spotted targets. Each carrier is scheduled to have only six FA-18Fs in its air wing, but the carriers in the Afghan War are using eight and finding them to be too few.