At the request of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), the US Marine Corps (USMC) Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242 successfully conducted the first landing of two F-35B Lightning II aircraft aboard the Japanese ship Izumo in October 3, detailed by the USMC this week.
After a series of modifications to the JS Izumo to allow for short-take-off and vertical landing operations, a capability in which the “B” variant of the F-35 specializes, US Marines boarded the JS Izumo and worked directly with personnel from the JMSDF as part of a bilateral effort to ensure capacity and testing was effective and secure.
“This test proved that the JS Izumo is capable of supporting STOVL aircraft takeoffs and landings at sea, which will allow us to provide an additional air defense option in the Pacific Ocean in the near future,” said JMSDF Rear Admiral Shukaku Komuta , commander of Escort Flotilla One.
Japan is one of 14 nations worldwide participating in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program and announced in August 2019 that it would purchase 42 F-35B aircraft from the United States. This announcement was particularly significant as the last time Japan operated an aircraft carrier was over 75 years ago.
“We still have work to do until the day when JMSDF can regularly deploy STOVL aircraft at sea, but I am confident that the strong partnership and mutual trust between our two counties will result in its realization,” said Komuta.
The F-35 includes the latest stealth technology and has an advanced set of sensors that allow it to create a dynamic perception of the battlefield. The F-35 is then able to quickly share this information with other aircraft platforms and command centers, including those operated by allies and multinational partners, creating greater situational awareness for commanders.
“We have the greatest confidence in the Joint Strike Fighter and look forward to our Japanese allies having the same capabilities in their hands, which ultimately contributes to our common goal of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Gen. Brian W. Cavanaugh, 1st General in Command, Aircraft Wing, US Marines.
The VMFA-242 is one of two F-35B squadrons permanently stationed at the Marine Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and is one of many units stationed in front that routinely train with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. The F-35B represents the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. the rebalancing of the United States with the Indo-Pacific and our commitment to the defense of Japan and regional security with the most capable and modern equipment in the US inventory.
The US-Japan Alliance has served as a cornerstone of regional peace and security for more than 60 years and remains indispensable to our mutual security interests in the Indo-Pacific. Our alliance is built on shared interests and values, a commitment to freedom and human rights, and the maintenance of a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Alliance has never been stronger and has never been more important to this region than it is now as we face difficult security challenges. The United States is committed to defending Japan, and combined training and testing like this allows us to improve interoperability and continue to be a reliable barrier to the region’s increasingly serious threats.
Source: with agencies