F-35B’s first combat strike

US Marines and sailors with the USS Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit wait for light operations to begin while F-35B Lightning IIs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMA-211), 13th MEU, are refuelled in preparation for the F-35B’s first combat strike.Cpl Francisco Diaz Jr/US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps announced its first combat use of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II took place on September 27. The aircraft, from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) ‘Wake Island Avengers”, lying from the amphibious warfare ship USS Essex (LHD-2) in the Arabian Sea, were used to deliver precisionguided air-to-ground munitions in Afghanistan. The first combat use of the F-35A version took place earlier this year, when Israeli aircraft took part in two air attacks over Syria. It is uncertain whether this included delivering munitions.