A group of Marine Corps F-35B joint strike fighters landed aboard an amphibious assault ship in the East China Sea Monday, ahead of the first-ever deployment of the stealthy jump jets.
The planes landed aboard the USS Wasp, where they’ll be part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, MEU, ahead of the unit’s Spring Patrol 2018, a scheduled cruise of the Indo-Pacific region.
From Washington Examiner
“This is a historic deployment,” said Col. Tye Wallace, who commands the 31st MEU, in a statement. “The F-35B is the most capable aircraft ever to support a Marine rifleman on the ground. It brings a range of new capabilities to the MEU that make us a more lethal and effective Marine Air-Ground Task Force.”
In a video released by the Marine Corps, a detachment of planes with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 can be seen flying over the Wasp before stopping at a hover and landing vertically on the amphibious assault ship’s flight deck. The planes feature rotating lift fans that allow them to land and take off vertically. They can also roll forward for a short takeoff.
Wasp, newly reconfigured to host the F-35, arrived at its new homeport of Sasebo, Japan, in January. The ship is part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces, which are homeported in Japan and conduct short deployments in the western Pacific.