TOKYO, ($1=111.47 Japanese Yens) – The F-35B short take-off and vertical landing aircraft belonging to the US Marine Corps perform take-offs and landings from the Japanese Izumo aircraft carrier – the first one of this country that is adapted to receive this class of aircraft, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
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The conversion of the Izumo to the F-35B carrier version began in the late spring of last year. The main goal was to strengthen the decks so that they could withstand the engine exhaust streams of the landing machine and its specific pressure on the deck. Soon, a similar reconstruction is to be carried out on a second Japanese ship of the same type as displacing 27 thousand.
For these ships, and perhaps also others [currently in Tokyo, the construction of “mother ships” is being discussed, i.e. probably classic large aircraft carriers], Japan plans to purchase 42 F-35B [of which eight have already been contracted, first deliveries in 2024], but as for so far it has not accepted these machines into service. Landings and take-offs by US Marines pilots are therefore necessary for the unit to reach operational readiness. It is also important given the need for interoperability between Allied aircraft and ships. It is worth recalling here that the dedicated element of the USMC squadron is used on the new British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, which is touring the Pacific.
American planes are to take off and land at JS Izumo on October 3-7 and they belong to the VMFA 121 squadron stationing at Iwakuni base. -35B on board. The 121st Shock Squadron is an experienced unit and the first in the world to reach operational readiness on the F-35B. Its pilots at the controls of the Lightning II sat down in 2012, and they were ferry to Japan in 2017.
It is worth emphasizing that the conversion of Izumo to a light aircraft carrier, capable of receiving the F-35B, has so far been performed only partially. In 2022, further investments worth the US $ 60 million are planned. These investments will include the purchase of Raytheon’s Joint Precision Approach and Landing System [JPALS] for USD 32.2 million. Only later will the front part of the deck be rebuilt, which will facilitate take-offs, as well as the hangar part.
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