US Marine Corps' F-35B Lightning II aircraft has arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, commencing the squadron's permanent residence at the base.
F-35B Lightning II aircraft belongs to the US Marine Corps’ aircraft squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) of Marine Aircraft Group 12.
With the launch, F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet, and EA-6B Prowler aircraft, as it features the mission capabilities of all three Marine Corps platforms in one airframe.
First Marine Aircraft wing commanding general major general Russell Sanborn said: “The arrival of the F-35B embodies our commitment to the defence of Japan and the regional-security of the Pacific.
“We are bringing the most advanced technology to the Pacific to respond to the wide range of missions we take part in and provide greater support to our regional allies.”
The aircraft is not only equipped with short takeoff and vertical landing capability, but also features a combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar, sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems.
The combination provides the aircraft with all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter, a modern bomber, as well as an adverse-weather, all-threat environment air support platform.
US Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and VMFA-121 commanding officer J T Bardo said: “Our training in the US has prepared us well for our mission here in Japan and we are very honoured to have such a warm welcome.
“Our Marines and family members take great pride in being able to serve here and be part of the amazing community in Iwakuni, both on and around the air station.”
Before arriving in Japan, VMFA-121 was stationed with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, US.
Image: An F-35B of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 arrives at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Photo: courtesy of USMC.