2015 Yuma Airshow: US Marine Corps Air Power

The 2015 Yuma Airshow was held in sunshine at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma in Arizona on February 28th, 2015. This is the premiere aviation training base of the United States Marine Corps and the airshow is a showcase of many of the USMC aircraft operated there, including the new Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter which features stealth capability along with advanced avionics and weapons systems.

USMC Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL walk around at Yuma Airshow 2015
USMC Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL walk around at Yuma Airshow 2015

The F-35B put on an impressive display of its very short take off capability along with fast flyby’s and vertical hovering. It is fitted with a Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 afterburning turbofan engine that incorporates a forward placed Rolls-Royce patented shaft-driven LiftFan® propulsion system for VTOL and the main engine nozzle can swivel 90 degrees to provide vertical and horizontal thrust. It was quite interesting seeing the latest in fifth generation stealth technology with all those hatches opening and closing, along with that amazing vectorable thrust engine nozzle in action too!

USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 "Green Knights" at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 “Green Knights” at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC F-35B at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
Ready for take-off
A very short take off by the F-35B at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
A very short take off by the F-35B at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 "Green Knights" Yuma Airshow 2015
USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 “Green Knights” performs a topside pass at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL at the 2015 Yuma Airshow in Arizona in flight
The underside of a USMC F-35B at the Yuma Airshow 2015
USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 "Green Knights" at the 2015 Yuma Airshow hovering
Hovering demo
USMC Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL at the 2015 Yuma Airshow in Arizona vertical hover
A unique hovering demo of the USMC F-35B at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
Here you can clearly see the Vectored thrust nozzle of the unique Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 afterburning turbofan engine
Here you can clearly see the Vectored thrust nozzle of the unique Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 afterburning turbofan engine pointing downwards for vertical thrust flight
USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 "Green Knights" at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
Back on deck
USMC F-35B Lightning II from VMFA-121 "Green Knights" at the 2015 Yuma Airshow cockpit
Well flown Sir
The Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 afterburning turbofan engine of the F-35B
The Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 afterburning turbofan engine of the F-35B

The F-35B was joined by a number of other USMC assets in the flight demonstrations during the airshow including a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II V/STOL attack aircraft from the famous Marine Fighter Squadron 214 (VMF-214) Blacksheep” (think air ace and Medal of Honour recipient Pappy Boyington and Vought F4U Corsairs in World War Two and the excellent 1976-1978 TV show Baa Baa Blacksheep / Black Sheep Squadron). The F-35B will eventually replace the AV-8B in USMC service but in the meantime the Harrier II made some surprisingly fast passes along with an impressive demonstration of the short take off, vertical landing and vertical take off capabilities of the aircraft.

USMC AV-8B Harrier II of the famous VMA-214 "Blacksheep" Squadron at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC AV-8B Harrier II of the famous VMA-214 “Blacksheep” Squadron at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
The McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II is the current frontline V/STOL attack aircraft of the USMC Yuma Airshow 2015
The McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II is the current frontline V/STOL attack aircraft of the USMC
USMC AV-8B Harrier II taxiing at the 2015 Yuma Airshow VMA-214 Blacksheep Squadron
USMC AV-8B Harrier II taxiing past for take off at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
VMA-214 "Blacksheep" Squadron AV-8B Yuma Airshow 2014
VMA-214 “Blacksheep” Squadron
Harrier II high speed pass at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
Harrier II high speed pass at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC AV-8B Slowing to go into vertical hover mode Yuma 2015
Slowing to go into vertical hover mode
USMC AV-8B Harrier II Gear down for a vertical landing
Gear down for a vertical landing
Harrier II vertical landing and take off demonstration Yuma Airshow 2015
Harrier II vertical landing and take off demonstration
Harrier II vertical landing and take off demonstration Yuma Airshow 2015
The heat wave from 4 vectored thrust nozzles of the Rolls Royce Pegasus of the Harrier II is very evident. It takes a lot of power to sustain vertical hovering like this!
USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II Yuma Airshow 2014
22,000 pounds of engine thrust in vertical lift action
USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II Yuma Airshow 2014
That’s some impressive lift!
AV-8B vertical landing and the end of the display at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
AV-8B vertical landing and the end of the display at the 2015 Yuma Airshow
USMC AV-8B Harrier II Gear down for a vertical landing
Back on terra firma

A nice little addition to the show were some non V/STOL types in the form of 4 Northrop F-5N/F Tiger II adversaries from Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401) “Snipers based at MCAS Yuma. They conducted a number of formation fly pasts from behind and along the crowd line (more on them in a future post).

Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401) "Snipers" at the 2015 Yuma Airshow F-5N Tiger II
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401) “Snipers” at the 2015 Yuma Airshow

The 2015 Yuma Airshow was a fantastic event. I had never been before but I was impressed. It is not a huge show by any means but they had a good display program, plenty of good view points and everything was well-managed (I had no issues getting into MCAS Yuma, parking or getting out of the parking area after the show. Food and drink were priced reasonably too). Well done to the organisers and the Marine Aviators.

Up next I will share the USMC helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft that were on static display as well as conducting flying demonstrations at Yuma. Plenty more to come!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “2015 Yuma Airshow: US Marine Corps Air Power

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s