Iwakuni’s F-35Bs would be among the first assets to be deployed to Korea in case of a contingency on the peninsula
Confirming the deployment, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, said “the deployment of the most advanced aircraft the USMC has in their inventory to Korea is yet another example of how dedicated the United States is to supporting the ROK-U.S. Alliance.”
The aircraft were in South Korea as part of the allies’ annual joint combined defense drills and they returned to Japan after the end of the exercise, (named KMEP, Korea Marine Exercise Program).
Brooks added that “The training within the KMEP program helps ensure our readiness and is critical for our Alliance as we maintain security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
USFK did not provide details including the exact date of the F-35’s flight over Korea and the number of deployed jets, but explained that the aircraft’s training in South Korea was meant to “enhance and improve the interoperability of ROK and the U.S. Marine Corps at the tactical level to build combined warfighting capabilities.”
Noteworthy KMEP came amid the region‘s rising tension over North Korea’s continued provocations. In fact recent media reports claim that another nuclear weapons test appears to be imminent in the North.
As we have previously reported the U.S. have deployed 10 F-35Bs from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni on Jan. 18, 2017 with six more scheduled to arrived there within this year.
Iwakuni’s F-35Bs would be among the first assets to be deployed to Korea in case of a contingency on the peninsula: in fact in addition to its short takeoff and vertical landing capability, the F-35B’s unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar, sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems bring all of the lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter.
Photo credit: Sgt. Lillian Stephens / U.S. Marine Corps