The US Marine Corps (USMC) is in the final preparation stages for the first operational shipborne embarkation of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). This would come with the arrival of an advance detachment of aircraft on USS Wasp (LHD-1), that came on the 5th March.
The undisclosed number of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) jets that make up the detachment come from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VFMA) 121. This squad is currently stationed in Japan. The squadron will join the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) based in Okinawa, Japan. It will aid with patrolling the Indo-Pacific region in the coming weeks, joining the ships of Amphibious Squadron 11,part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group. The deployment also marks the beginning of the MEU’s transition to using the F-35B from the McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II (in service since the mid-1980s).
Image: An F-35B lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) as part of a routine patrol in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)