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Marines form new F-35B Fighter Attack Squadron in Japan

Oct. 23 (UPI) — The U.S. Marine Corps at Iwakuni, Japan, announced formation of a new attack squadron on Friday in anticipation of the arrival of F-35B fighter planes.

Marine Aircraft Group 12 re-designated Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242, or VMFA-242. The change is part of the Marine Corps’ ongoing transition process from F/A-18 Hornet fighter planes to the more-advanced F-35B Lightning II.

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It will be the second overseas Marine squadron, a 1st Marine Aircraft Wing statement on Friday said.

The first squadron, also at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, was established in 2017. VMFA-242 was ceremonially dedicated last week, and included a change of command, as Lt. Col. Andrew Kelemen was succeeded by Lt. Col. Michael Wyrsch.

“The F-35 represents the future of Marine Corps tactical aviation and will eventually replace the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler in all units across the Marine Corps,” 1st Marine Aircraft Wing officials said in the statement.

The Marine Corps’ variant of the plane, the F-35B, has stealth technology and short-takeoff and vertical-landing capabilities that allow it to operate from aircraft carriers and flat-deck amphibious assault ships.

The Marines did not indicate when the first F-35B will be delivered to VMFA-242.

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