The US Marine Corps and US Navy are sister services that had different degrees of urgency for introducing the Lockheed Martin F-35B/C Lightning II. Gérard Keijsper provides an overview of the situation
As the US Marine Corps (USMC) stopped buying new fighters in the early 1990s, it was in urgent need of a replacement for its fleets of McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II vertical/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) combat aircraft and legacy F/A-18C/D Hornet multi-role fighters.
In the early years of the Joint Strike Fighter development programme, the Corps decided that it wanted an all-short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL)-capable force and thus opted to acquire the B-model variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II family. However, development issues – mainly concerning the platform’s weight – would impact the F-35B because of its unique STOVL capability, which resulted in the downsizing of the aircraft’s weapons bays. The F-35B’s STOVL flight envelope also required an excess power-weight ratio of 1.2.