WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) met with the chief of naval operations (CNO) and the commandant of the Marine Corps March 14 to commit to achieving greater combat capability in naval aviation by signing a Tactical Aviation (TACAIR) Integration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
"Today we reaffirm the enduring partnership of the Navy and Marine Corps. This MOU ensures that our aircraft apportionment is best suited to meet the needs of both services and fulfill the variety of missions undertaken by both," said SECNAV Ray Mabus. "Together, the Navy and Marine Corps are stronger than they are alone. And together, they will continue to be the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."
The joint commitment will bring increased combat capability to the nation for the foreseeable future, while reducing the force structure and the number of aircraft required to source requirements for both the Navy and Marine Corps. It also recognizes the service unique requirements of the Navy and the Marine Corps.
The MOU establishes a framework under which the Marine Corps will provide five squadrons of F-35C aircraft to carrier air wings. As part of the F-35 transition plan, the Marine Corps will procure 80 F-35Cs and 340 F-35Bs; the Navy will procure 260 F-35Cs.
The MOU also eliminates the need for the Navy to provide an expeditionary F/A-18 squadron as part of the Unit Deployment Program, supporting forward deployed forces in Japan.
"The Marine Corps' decision to purchase the F-35C is representative of our commitment to tactical air integration with the Navy," said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos. "With this decision, it is important to note that the continued development of F-35B remains the centerpiece of the USMC tactical fixed wing modernization program."
"This reaffirms the way the Navy and Marine Corps serve the nation over time," said CNO Adm. Gary Roughead Chief of Naval Operations. "This brings a new capability into our forces and provides the nation with greater expeditionary capability."
Because of the dynamic nature of carrier and expeditionary operations, the MOU will be reviewed every five to seven years to ensure alignment with current missions. Additionally, a TACAIR Integration Team will annually examine current situations and attempt to forecast future requirements to be included in updated MOUs.
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