In a what I thought was a purely political move the USMC has stood up it first F-35 squadron at Yuma with Marine Attack Squadron 121 turning its Hornets in for the new jet. The only problem is the LRIP jets will be dedicated to the test program. Of course this whole thing is a joke, the helmet still doesn't work the jets are flying with temporary software the actual test program is only about 25% complete and only God knows how much money will be spent trying to get this pig to IOC which the Marines admit will not be until 2015, I'll belive that when I see it.
The F-35 program has been a standing joke and a poster child for how not to develop an combat aircraft. What is truly amazing that in a world were the US is basically broke we still have leadership in the Pentagon and Congress that are committed to spending even more on this program because of stealth.
The Air Force is just as bad cheerleading for this pig even though if the new testing time lines work out the Air Force IOC will be about 6 years later than was promised back in 2001-2002
For a good article with links to others check out Wired Danger Room
Only a real Lockheed Martin fanboy could defend this sorry program at this point.
I predict that next year there will be major cuts in funding of the F-35, cost increase will cause many projected NATO buyers to cancel and we will end up buying additional updated F-15, F-18 and F-16 airframes in an attempt to recatipalize the force.