16 high-tech F-35B stealth fighters now deployed to Japan..
Huny Badger RIGHT WING TRIBUNE–
The F-35As will be joined by approximately 300 airmen from Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The deployment occurs amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. “With a very complex security environment, including [the situation with] North Korea, [the deployment of F-35A fighters] indicates that the U.S. side is showing a certain extent of commitment to this region.”
“The F-35A gives the joint warfighter unprecedented global precision attack capability against current and emerging threats while complementing our air superiority fleet,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander. “The airframe is ideally suited to meet our command’s obligations, and we look forward to integrating it into our training and operations.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-engine, all weather, fifth-generation multi-role fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability. The F-35 has three main models; the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, the F-35B is a short take-off and vertical-landing variant, and the F-35C is a carrier-based variant.
A short video that shows some of the extremely impressive maneuvers and capabilities of the F-35:
The F-35B used by the Marines is a short-takeoff, vertical-landing aircraft meant to replace the F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler. The Marines’ version of the jet was recently joined in Japan by the Air Force’s F-35A, which lacks the helicopter-like capabilities of the B variant.
A dozen F-35As from Utah’s 34th Fighter Squadron will work out of Kadena Air Base for six months to help “demonstrate the continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security in the region,” an Air Force said in a statement.
This is not the first time that a U.S. F-35 unit has deployed to Japan. A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B squadron, the service’s variant of the F-35 capable of vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings without requiring a catapult launcher, has been stationed at an airbase in Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture since January. The U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 121 currently consists of 16 F-35B aircraft.
U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the service’s first overseas-deployed F-35B squadron, has conducted a hot-reload exercise at an airbase in Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
It was the first time that ordnance was loaded onto a running F-35B, the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the supersonic fifth-generation F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, capable of vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings without requiring a catapult launcher.
The exercise was conducted while the pilot remained in the cockpit with the aircraft’s engine running. The drill is meant to train the ground crew to reload the aircraft as fast possible during sorties. Based on a video posted about the exercise, the weapon loaded onto the F-35B appears to be a 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), a guidance kit that converts unguided bombs into all-weather precision-guided munition.
The press release notes that the training is necessary in order to “prepare for real-world scenarios” and “vital to improving as a squadron and continuing to move forward toward being ready when called upon to fight.” With tensions in East Asia heating up, these real-world scenarios could include missions over the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Huny Badger is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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