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Two USMC F-35Bs conduct take-offs, landings from JS Izumo

One of the two USMC F-35Bs that conducted take-offs and landings on 3 October from JS Izumo , which is being converted into a fully-fledged aircraft carrier. (JMSDF)

Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 5 October that two US Marine Corps (USMC) Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II multirole fighter aircraft have for the first time conducted take-offs and landings from Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183), which is being converted into a fully-fledged aircraft carrier.

The F-35Bs, which operate from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, carried out the trials on 3 October while JS Izumo was operating off the Japanese island of Shikoku, an MoD spokesperson told Janes two days later.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told a press conference on 5 October that the trials confirmed that F-35Bs can be operated from JS Izumo, adding that the move is part of Japan's ongoing efforts to improve its capabilities in the maritime and air domains.

The MoD in Tokyo has said that the conversion of the JMSDF's two Izumo-class vessels into aircraft carriers capable of enabling F-35B operations is taking place in two main stages meant to coincide with the vessels' periodic refit and overhaul programmes, which take place every five years.

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