At the request of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242 successfully completed the first-ever landing of two F-35B Lightning IIs aboard the Japanese ship Izumo on October 3, 2021.
Following a series of modifications to the JS Izumo to allow short vertical take-off and landing operations, a capability in which the F-35 “B” variant specializes, the US Marines embarked on board of JS Izumo and worked directly with JMSDF staff as part of a bilateral effort to ensure proficiency testing was both effective and safe.
“This test has proven that the JS Izumo has the ability to support takeoffs and landings of STOVL aircraft at sea, which will allow us to provide an additional option for air defense in the Pacific Ocean in the near future. “said Rear Admiral JMSDF Shukaku. Komuta, commander of the first escort flotilla.
Japan is one of 14 countries around the world to participate 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 all the more important given that the last time Japan operated an aircraft carrier was more than 75 years ago.
“We still have work to do until the day when the JSDF can regularly use STOVL planes at sea, but I am confident that the strong partnership and mutual trust between our two countries will make it happen,” Komuta said.
The F-35 incorporates the latest stealth technology and has an advanced suite of sensors that allows it to create a dynamic awareness of the battlespace. 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 better situational awareness for commanders.
“We have the utmost 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,” the general said. of division. Brian W. Cavanaugh, Commanding General of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
VMFA-242 is one of two permanently stationed F-35B squadrons at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and is one of many forward-stationed units that train regularly with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. The F-35B represents the rebalancing of the United States towards the Indo-Pacific and our commitment to the defense of Japan and regional security with the most efficient and modern equipment in the American inventory.
The US-Japan Alliance has been the cornerstone of regional peace and security for over 60 years and remains indispensable to our mutual security interests in the Indo-Pacific. Our alliance is founded on shared interests, shared 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 it has never been more important to this region than at this time 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 remain a credible deterrent in the face of increasingly serious threats in the region. In TW 1.5, a milestone between now and TW 2.0, more categories of data will be added for continuous checking, she said. In addition to ongoing criminal and counterterrorism checks, suspicious financial activity and overseas travel will also be monitored. When TW 1.5 begins, periodic reviews will no longer be necessary.
Green noted that there are ongoing political discussions as to whether social media monitoring will be added for TW 2.0.