AV-8B Harrier

Marine aviation plan outlines future of Cherry Point

February 04, 2016


by Drew C. Wilson, Havelock News

Cherry Point will continue playing a vital role in the service of the nation in the coming years, according to the recently released 2016 Marine Aviation Plan.

An expanding role of unmanned aerial systems and the possibility of an additional training squadron are highlighted in the plan, which outlays the aviation goals of the Corps for the next decade. >>READ MORE


Year in Review: Goodbyes and Welcomes at Cherry Point

December 28, 2015

MCAS Cherry Point conducts final H-46 flight. Pedro. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

by Drew C. Wilson, Halifax Media

Cherry Point – and indeed the entire region – said goodbye to a friend in 2015.

Sept. 25 marked the final flight for Pedro, the HH-46E search and rescue helicopters flown by Marine Transport Squadron 1.

Yet, 2015 wasn’t an entire year of farewells, as Cherry Point also welcomed a new commanding general.

Here are some of the military highlights of 2015. >>READ MORE


The Economic Impact of MCAS Cherry Point

September 03, 2015

F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

The most recent economic study of the North Carolina Department of Commerce ranks Craven County third in the state for military contracts. Each year, military contracts bring Craven County $194.9 million; $2.04 billion for the region.

F-35B Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter has recently achieved initial operational capability, meaning it is ready for world-wide deployment. As the F-35B aircraft transition to air stations across the country, Cherry Point is at a crossroads. Billions of dollars are at stake as the EA-6B Prowlers and AV-8B Harriers start to phase out and an undetermined number of F-35B’s arrive over the next several years.

FRC East

FRC East is making a solid case to keep the F-35 lift fan facility in Cherry Point instead of moving it to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Keeping the lift fan here would ensure hundreds of jobs and maintain a sound economy for our area.

With so much on the line, it is critical to show our support of MCAS Cherry Point. Our local economy depends on it for the well-being of our friends and family. >>READ MORE


First International F-35B arrives aboard Fightertown

February 03, 2015

First international F-35B arrives aboard fightertown. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

BEAUFORT, S.C. – Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 welcomed the first United Kingdom F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Feb. 3.

The jet was flown by British Royal Air Force pilot Hugh Nichols, the UK senior national representative from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

“It’s big for the Air Station, the town, and the pilot training center,” said Joseph T. Bachmann, the commanding officer of VMFAT-501.

The jet is one of only three British F-35B aircraft and is assigned to VMFAT-501.

The international cooperation of VMFAT-501 and the RAF has a huge impact on the Air Station and the Marine Corps as a whole.

“This is another example of the Marine Corps and the UK working hand in hand to achieve great things with the F-35,” said Bachmann.

The F-35B will replace the Marine Corps’ aging legacy tactical fleet. In addition to replacing the F/A-18A-D Hornet, the F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler, essentially necking down to one common tactical fixed-wing aircraft and providing the dominant, multi-role, fifth-generation capabilities needed across the full spectrum of combat operations to deter potential adversaries and enable future naval aviation power projection.

According to Lockheed Martin, the Lightning II will also be the backbone of Britain’s future carrier operations.

This is the last F-35B delivered from Eglin, turning a page in the next chapter for the program.

“The international cooperation is going to be huge for the next few years,” said Nichols. “The fact that we are working with VMFAT-501 is already a big deal and we are setting the scene for the next few years.”

Lieutenant Commander Beth Kitchen, the UK senior engineering officer at VMFAT-501, ensures that the aircraft is maintained and the UK is able to develop its own engineering maintenance and air competency in order to independently operate the aircraft.

The F-35 is the UKs future maritime strike ground attack fighter aircraft.

“The fact that we can operate from VMFAT-501 for the next couple years means we will be ahead of the game when it comes to developing our own capabilities back on UK soil come 2018,” said Kitchen.

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/153665/first-international-f-35b-arrives-aboard-fightertown#.VNTJGbB4qoB#ixzz3QyQnJm51


USMC will retire AV-8B Harriers sooner according to 2015 Marine Aviation Plan

November 03, 2014

USMC will retire AV-8B Harriers sooner according to 2015 Marine Aviation Plan. Allies for Cherry POint's Tomorrow.

The U.S. Marine Corps will phase out the Boeing AV-8B Harrier II jump jet by 2025 — about five years earlier than planned — and will instead extend the life of its fleet of aging Boeing F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters, according to the service’s recently released 2015 aviation plan. >> READ MORE