The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 has arrived at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan on January 18, the United States Pacific Command said in a news release. The VMFA 121 is a US Marine Corps aircraft squadron operating stealth F-35B Lightning II multirole fighters.
The transfer of the said squadron from MCAS Yuma, Arizona makes the first permanent forward deployment of a F-35B squadron. VMFA 121 is now part of Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).
III MEF is forward-deployed and able to deploy rapidly conduct operations mainly across Asia-Pacific from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) to amphibious assault and high-intensity combat.
“The F-35B represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation, and bringing it to Japan makes MCAS Iwakuni the second only operational F-35B base,” said US Marine Corps Major Jimmy Braudt, quality assurance officer and pilot with VMFA-121. “One of its capabilities is a powerful sensor suite that fuses together several different sources and provides superior situational awareness to the pilot. It will be the first short take-off and vertical landing aircraft permanently based in this theater, and is capable of countering modern threat systems beyond what legacy aircraft were designed to handle.”
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