Japan’s second F-35B squadron is ready to fight

US Indo-Pacific Command announced last week that a second squadron of F-35Bs based in Japan has declared full operational capability.

According to a press release from Command, 242nd Marine Fighter Squadron (VMFA) has achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) and is now ready to support the full complement of its missions. . A key part of this milestone is the establishment of 32 permanent forward F-35Bs as part of Maritime Aircraft Group (MAG) 12, ready to support an Indo-Pacific Ocean is free and open. This transition comes in line with the Marine Corps’ annual plan.

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation and will eventually replace the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler in all units in the fleet. Marines. On October 16, 2020, VMFA-242, known as Bats, was re-designated as the F-35B squadron and on September 9, 2021, the squadron attained Initial Operational Capability (IOC) .


“The FOC milestone is the culmination of more than two years of planning and execution, all while being moved forward and in the face of the global pandemic. In my more than 20 years of service, I have never seen a single unit come together in the way that our Marines and Sailors have while overcoming many challenges,” said Lt Col. D. Wyrsch, commanding officer VMFA-242 said. “I’m incredibly proud to say that I’m a part of this team and I look forward to seeing where the Bats’ enduring culture of excellence takes them.”

The MAG-12 received its first squadron of forward-looking F-35Bs in January 2017 when VMFA-121 moved to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. With the addition of the VMFA-242, the MAG-12 is now the only forward unit in the Indo-Pacific with two permanently stationed squadrons of F-35Bs.
“VMFA-242 has implemented a masterful training plan and successfully completed the elements required for the FOC declaration. This statement provides additional capabilities and capabilities, enhancing our posture and ensuring that we can effectively meet any mission,” said Major General Brian W. Cavanaugh, Commander of the Wing. Flying Marines No. 1 said.

The F-35B is a fifth-generation stealth fighter designed to operate from short expeditionary airfields and amphibious assault ships. In addition to short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities, the F-35B offers advanced technology and combines the mission capabilities of current USMC platforms – the AV-8B and F/A-18 – in a single airframe.

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