Marine F-35B squadron relocates to Japan

YUMA, Arizona. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 “Green Knights,” an F-35B squadron with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, recently left Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and has transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

The squadron's move is a first, says Maj. Michael O’Brien, the operations officer for VMFA-121: "It's the first time that any fifth-generation fighter unit has moved and been permanently based overseas, specifically in Japan. As Marines, we're all about being forward based and having a forward presence, and there's really nothing better than being out there on the leading edges in Asia, in Japan, with our allies."

The short takeoff/vertical-landing aircraft -- developed to replace the Marine Corps’ F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier, and EA- 6B Prowler -- combines stealth measures, cutting-edge and sensor technology, and updated (EW) systems. Data and lessons learned during field testing at sea during 2016 laid the groundwork for planned F-35B deployments aboard U.S. Navy amphibious carriers, the first two of which will take place in 2018.

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