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Arrival of F-35 Lightning II to Japan

16-003 | Oct. 31, 2016



The United States Government officially notified the Government of Japan regarding the planned introduction and basing of the F-35B Lightning II in Japan on Oct. 13. The 16 aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in 2017.

As the future of Marine aviation, the F-35 will replace the Marine Corps’ legacy tactical jet aircraft, including the AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets. Upon their arrival, the F-35s of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) will belong to Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. The squadron will be permanently stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

The F-35B is the "next generation" aircraft representing the future of USMC tactical aviation. In addition to its short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) capability, the F-35B provides advanced technology and incorporates the mission capabilities of the current USMC platforms—the AV-8B, and F/A-18 and EA-6B—within a single airframe. The F-35B represents a unique aircraft for the USMC, with new and different capabilities compared to the legacy aircraft it replaces.

We will continue bring the most advanced technologies and capabilities of our force to the region. These capabilities enable the Marine Corps to support our regional partners during crises by enabling our forces to perform a wide range of missions across multiple domains. This is in keeping with the president’s strategy to rebalance in the Pacific.