Marines preparing for maiden operational voyage of F-35B

The U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to send its first F-35B Lightning II short take-off and vertical landing aircraft to sea aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship.

The Corps is not saying how many of the fighters will be aboard the Wasp, but they will come from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VFMA) 121 currently stationed in Japan.

The aircraft will join the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) patrolling the Indo-Pacific region with ships of Amphibious Squadron 11 that form the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group.

The deployment of the F-35B’s will mark the beginning of the service’s transition away from the AV-8B Harrier II, which has been in USMC service since the 1980s.

VFMA 121 has led the way in the development of tactics for the F-35B’s. [source]

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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