First Marine Corps Squadron Deploys to Japan

Production milestones, roll-outs, test flights, service introduction and other milestones.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post10 Jan 2017, 23:48

First Marine Corps Squadron Deploys to Japan
The Marine Corps' first operational F-35B Joint Strike Fighter squadron is en route to Japan, where it will prepare for a wide-ranging deployment in the Pacific.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 departed its former headquarters at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, on Monday en route to its new base at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, officials with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing announced Tuesday.

VMFA-121 received its first F-35B in November 2012, well ahead of the Marine Corps' announcement of initial operational capability for the program in July 2015. For the squadron, the F-35 replaces the F/A-18 Hornet. Ultimately, the service plans to replace all its Hornets, AV-8B Harriers and EA-6B Prowlers with Joint Strike Fighters.

"The Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft is a true force multiplier," Capt. Kurt Stahl, a spokesman for 3rd MAW, said in Tuesday's announcement. "The unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar and sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems bring all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter, a modern bomber, and an adverse-weather, all-threat environment air support platform."

Ahead of the move forward to Japan, VMFA-121 has participated in a number of exercises and proof-of-concept evolutions to assure its readiness for the new mission.

The squadron participated in Exercise Steel Knight over the Western U.S. and California coast in December 2015, conducting the F-35's first expeditionary test as it landed at an austere airfield at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, and another landing pad at Red Beach.

More recently, the aircraft participated in the third and final shipboard developmental test evolution for the F-35 in October 2016, executing a proof of concept demonstration that tested the "envelope" of the conditions the F-35B could handle and flying with a range of weapons loadouts and the latest version of aircraft software, Block 3F.

"The final test period ensured the plane could operate in the most extreme at-sea conditions, with a range of weapons loadouts and with the newest software variant," Stahl said. "Data and lessons learned laid the groundwork for developing the concepts of operations for F-35B deployments aboard U.S. Navy amphibious carriers, the first two of which will take place in 2018."

The permanent move forward to Japan for VMFA-121 lays the groundwork for a series of upcoming deployments, beginning with the squadron's own deployment in the Pacific theater aboard the USS Wasp.

A second deployment the same year will see the Corps' second operational F-35 squadron, VMFA-211 aboard the USS Essex -- a pump that will likely see the aircraft's first operations in the Middle East.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017 ... japan.html

Anyone know how many of the -121's F-35Bs are headed to Japan?
Last edited by SpudmanWP on 11 Jan 2017, 00:05, edited 3 times in total.
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Unread post10 Jan 2017, 23:55

NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN – Marine Corps F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, transit the Pacific from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 9, 2017, with its final destination of Iwakuni, Japan. VMFA-121 is the first operational F-35B squadron assigned to the Fleet Marine Force, with its relocation to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Iwakuni.


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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 00:06

Don't quote me IIRC there are ten F-35Bs at first with later another six to join VFMA-121 in Japan. Those numbers would be in the UNIT forum subsection. I'll check.... viewtopic.php?f=59&t=25582&p=353003&hilit=Carlson#p353003 & viewtopic.php?f=61&t=52435&p=354914&hilit=Iwakuni#p354914

6 page PDF of article: download/file.php?id=23532 (1.7Mb)
Green Knights & the Lightning II
Oct 2016 Ted Carlson AirForces Monthly

"...The Green Knights [VMFA-121] have received most of the new USMC F-35Bs and distribute their older to wherever the Corps’ needs are. As the first deploying F-35B squadron, the Green Knights have the newest and most up-to-date jets in the inventory.

The unit had 16 aircraft at one time, but after some were distributed to other units and some returned to Lockheed Martin for modification, it will stabilise at ten aircraft for the time being. Long term, it will build back up to 16 F-35Bs, which is the planned allocation for the initial F-35B squadrons. At the moment the situation is fluid as airframe requirements vary...."

Source: Oct 2016 AirForces Monthly Magazine Issue No. 343

USS Wasp to Japan Next Year Support of Marine F-35B Squadron
24 Oct 2016 Sam LaGrone

"...“We’ll get the squadron [VMFA-121] out there [MCAS Iwakuni, Japan], a 10-plane squadron, in January 2017. We’ll put six more aircraft out there in the summer of ’17 and then in the fall of ’17 is when the ship [USS Wasp] will be ready” to take on the jets...."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2016/10/24/uss-wa ... -san-diego
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 00:23

Congrats to the Corp!
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 06:01

First F-35B Squadron Moves to Japan
10 Jan 2017 Valerie Insinna

"...Marine Corps spokesman Capt Kurt Stahl told Defense News that 10 F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) departed Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona on Monday, with the first jets slated to arrive in Japan on Wednesday. All 10 F-35s will arrive at Iwakuni by Thursday. Eventually, an additional six jets will be relocated from Yuma to Iwakuni, bringing the squadron up to a full 16 aircraft...."

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/articles/fir ... s-to-japan
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 09:33

Sweet!!!!
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optimist

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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 11:22

It must be a farewell tour, I heard the f-35 is going to be canceled. :roll: Where is Sweetman munching on his crow pie?
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 14:33

optimist wrote:It must be a farewell tour, I heard the f-35 is going to be canceled. :roll: Where is Sweetman munching on his crow pie?


And we know that F-35 doesn't work and has so many deficiencies... :doh:
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 15:51

hornetfinn wrote:
optimist wrote:It must be a farewell tour, I heard the f-35 is going to be canceled. :roll: Where is Sweetman munching on his crow pie?


And we know that F-35 doesn't work and has so many deficiencies... :doh:

It's totally going to Japan to be sunk into the Mariana Trench so that the truth about the alien technology in them can be hidden from the world.
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 15:56

cosmicdwarf wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:
optimist wrote:It must be a farewell tour, I heard the f-35 is going to be canceled. :roll: Where is Sweetman munching on his crow pie?


And we know that F-35 doesn't work and has so many deficiencies... :doh:

It's totally going to Japan to be sunk into the Mariana Trench so that the truth about the alien technology in them can be hidden from the world.



And it's flying over Alaska and the water with a single engine? This is clearly a kamikaze run lol
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 17:56

https://news.usni.org/2017/01/10/first- ... 92e82094bc

First Marine Corps F-35B Squadron Leaves for Japan

By: Gidget Fuentes
January 10, 2017 11:02 PM

Ten of the Marine Corps’ newest fighter jets took off from the runway at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Ariz., on Monday and began the long trans-Pacific flight to their squadron’s new home in Japan, service officials announced today. The single-seat F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 are relocating to Iwakuni MCAS, bringing the high-tech, multi-mission capabilities of the controversial Joint Strike Fighter jet to the western Pacific region. Marine Corps officials had announced last year the decision to move the F-35B squadron from the West Coast-based 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing to the Japan-based 1st Marine Aircraft Wing...

“The aircraft will arrive at Iwakuni in segments over the next couple days,” said Capt. Kurt Stahl, a 3rd MAW spokesman at Miramar MCAS in San Diego, told USNI News. The relocation of the squadron, which can number about 300 personnel, is a permanent change-of-station (PCS) move for the Marines, sailors and their families. The “Green Knights” squadron is expected to receive six additional jets by summer and is slated to train and do a West-Pac deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit with the Japan-based amphibious ready group later this year, officials said. That ARG will be led by amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1), which will shift its homeport from Norfolk, Va., to Sasebo, Japan, later this year, ... Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations, told USNI News last month that “we intend to fully incorporate the F-35 into the [U.S. Pacific Command] area of operations.” Marines with the squadron will join in regional joint exercises this year throughout PACOM, including the biennial exercise Northern Edge in Alaska, as it prepares for pre-deployment training with the 31st MEU and ARG, Bailey said Dec. 22. “So I call it a crawl, walk, run; we have to get out there and start learning some lessons, which we will…. So they’ll get out on ground and just start doing what I call familiarization, and then they’ll learn some lessons from that,” he said....

In 2012, VMFA-121, an F/A-18 Hornet squadron, was the first unit to be re-designated as an operational JSF squadron. In December 2015, it participated in the 1st Marine Division’s annual Marine air-ground task force exercise Steel Knight in southern California. In October, the squadron’s jets went to sea aboard the amphibious assault ship America (LHA-6) for a round of developmental tests and a proof of concept demonstration to see how the aircraft would operate at sea. Additional testing will continue into the deployment.

The Corps’ second F-35B squadron, the “Avengers” of VMFA-211, was a Harrier squadron until its re-designation last year.

..a little more info...
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Unread post12 Jan 2017, 17:09

You know, it's just hitting me now..

While Russia and China continue to test their platforms, we're fielding a 2nd, 5th generation fighter. Granted, it's still immature and bugs are still being worked out. But the fact remains: There are now JSF's forward deployed and integrating with our other assets, giving us a decisive edge.

As tens become hundreds and hundreds become thousands, that edge continues to grow. While it's doubtful PAK FA will be deployed in significant numbers, the J-20/31 very well may. Still, that's some ways off. Congrats to LM, the Marines (and soon, Air Force) on getting this bird to the front lines. I firmly believe that history will repeat itself.

Meaning just like the F-15 critics spouted the "too complex to work" nonsense, the F-35 will prove to be a world beater. Much to Sweetman's and Sprey's dismay :mrgreen:
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Unread post13 Jan 2017, 00:28

mixelflick wrote:You know, it's just hitting me now..

What took so long? :)
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post18 Jan 2017, 17:10

F-35B arrives in Japan

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
F-35B Lightning II aircraft, belonging to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group 12, arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni January 18, beginning the squadron’s permanent basing at the air station.

The F-35B represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation and incorporates the mission capabilities of the current Marine Corps platforms it is replacing—the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet, and EA-6B Prowler—within a single airframe. In addition to its short takeoff and vertical landing capability, the F-35B’s unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar, sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems bring all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter, a modern bomber, and an adverse-weather, all-threat environment air support platform.

“The arrival of the F-35B embodies our commitment to the defense of Japan and the regional-security of the Pacific,” said Maj. Gen. Russell Sanborn, the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General. “We are bringing the most advanced technology to the Pacific to respond to the wide range of missions we take part in and provide greater support to our regional allies.”

Prior to arriving in Iwakuni, VMFA-121 was stationed with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Yuma, Arizona. During the squadron’s time in Arizona, the aircraft successfully participated in numerous exercises and training events.

"Our training in the U.S. has prepared us well for our mission here in Japan and we are very honored to have such a warm welcome," said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. J. T. Bardo, commanding officer of VMFA-121. "Our Marines and family members take great pride in being able to serve here and be part of the amazing community in Iwakuni, both on and around the air station.”

B-roll and still imagery of VMFA-121 arriving can be downloaded at the III Marine Expeditionary Force DVIDs webpage https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/III-MEF, the MCAS Iwakuni DVIDS webpage https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/MCAS-I, the III MEF webpage http://www.iiimef.marines.mil/, and the III MEF FaceBook webpage https://www.facebook.com/IIIMEF.

http://www.iiimef.marines.mil/News/News ... -in-japan/
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Unread post19 Jan 2017, 01:15

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... an-433306/

F-35B arrives in Japan

18 January, 2017
SOURCE: Flightglobal.com
BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

US Marine Corps F-35B fighters made their inaugural trip to Air Station Iwakuni, Japan on 18 January, where the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 will operate the Lockheed Martin stealth fighter on its first operational deployment overseas.
Before arriving in Japan, the squadron was stationed with the the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Yuma, Arizona. The USMC converted the Boeing F/A-18D squadron to F-35Bs at Yuma after declaring initial operational capability in July 2015. A total of 16 F-35Bs are expected to arrive to Iwakuni this year, a Marine spokesman tells FlightGlobal.

The short take-off vertical landing variant will replace the Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler.
The deployment means the F-35B becomes the first US stealth aircraft to be permanently based west of Hawaii and Alaska in the Pacific theatre. The US Air Force also deploys Lockheed F-22s and Northrop Grumman B-2s into Asia on a temporary basis.

In the next few years, the USMC unit will be joined by new F-35As delivered to foreign air forces in Australia, Japan and South Korea. At the same time, China's People's Liberation Army Air Force is fielding the Avic J-20, a stealthy, twin-engined aircraft.
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