A team of U.S. Marines has completed the first power module and engine swap on a Lockheed Martin-built F-35B fighter jet at sea in the hangar bay of amphibious assault vessel USS America.
This new milestone represents the third and final developmental test phase for the aircraft conducted by Marines assigned to the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday.
During the engine swap procedure, the VMX-1 team entered every maintenance step into the Autonomic Logistic Information System for planning, maintenance and sustainment of aircraft subsystems over the life of the aircraft.
“Any time [the Navy or Marine Corps] acquire new aircraft, they are concurrently going to acquire the training resources that it takes to operate and maintain the jet,” said Mark Schroeder, maintenance and logistics department head for the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force.
The VMX-1 team also worked with the Pax River ITF to perform an integrated test on flight and maintenance operations.
“The people here now will be the ones to bring the new generation of aircraft to the Marine Corps,” Schroeder added.