The US has launched a major challenge to China and North Korea with a first deployment in the Pacific Ocean of an aircraft carrier with F-35B jets. The assault ship, USS Wasp, has been specially modified to take the US Marine Corps’ Fighter Attack Squadron 121. The F-35 is capable of short take-offs and vertical landing variants, and is equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat weapons.
Euronews US pilots are scheduled to carry out a series of flights over several days, after which the F-35s and more than 2,000 US Marines will deploy aboard ships for operations in the Indo-Pacific region as part of what the military describes as a routine patrol to strengthen regional alliances and provide rapid-response capability.
“This is a historic development,” said Colonel Tye R. Wallace in a US Navy news statement. “The F-35B is the most capable aircraft ever to support a Marine rifleman on the ground.”