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Japan considers F-35B for carrier ops, national media reports

27 December 2017

Japan could procure the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to operate from its Izumo-class amphibious assault ships, national media reported on 26 December.

The proposal to have the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fly F-35Bs from the decks of the JS Izumo and JS Kaga has reportedly been touted by the country’s government as an option to improve interoperability with the United States, alongside another plan to allow US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35Bs to use the helicopter carriers as refuelling stations.

With the JASDF already set to field the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A to operate from its land bases, The Japan News quoted ‘senior defence officials’ as saying that either adding to this procurement with F-35Bs for maritime use, or upgrading the JMSDF’s ships to accommodate STOVL aircraft from the USMC are options that are being considered.

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