United States Navy Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) departed Norfolk, Virginia, USA for Sasebo, Japan on August 30. Replacing USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), she it will assume duties as the forward-deployed flagship of the amphibious force of the US 7th Fleet, the US Navy said.
USS Wasp is capable of operating the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
“USS Wasp has been recently modernized to accommodate the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B),” the US NAvy said. F-35B is capable of Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL), enabling it to operate out of a wide range of bases, both afloat and a shore.
US Navy said this deployment will introduce an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter-capable amphibious assault ship to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, pairing it with the F-35Bs of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121.
“This move ensures that our most technologically-advanced air warfare platforms are forward deployed,” said Wasp Commanding Officer Capt. Andrew Smith. “Our capabilities, paired with the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, increases our Navy’s precision strike capabilities within the 7th Fleet region. Wasp will help America’s commitment to the maritime security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”