The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant built for the U.S. Marine Corps, has officially arrived in the Far East. As one of the most controversial and expensive weapons programs to have ever been fielded, the F-35B is making its rounds around the world in a carefully planned deployment. The fifth-generation all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions with service-specific variants, is being positioned at strategically important posts around the world.
Here, two U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters land at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) conducted a permanent change of station to MCAS Iwakuni, from MCAS Yuma, Arizona and now are assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. This would make the second world deployment of the new JSF, after the units fielded by the Israeli Air Force last fall. Along with the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, the new F-35 Lightning II is becoming the new cornerstone of the U.S. military aviation platform.