Wasp, which has undergone significant upgrades to be able to land and launch the F-35B, will replace USS Bonhomme Richard in the region.
Even though the amphibious assault ship is smaller than the US aircraft carriers in the region– including the Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan — the presence of an F-35B armed Wasp creates the impression of the US having a second aircraft carrier in the region.
“The arrival of USS Wasp represents an increase in military capability and a commitment to our partners and allies for security and stability in the region,” said Capt. Colby Howard, Wasp Commanding Officer.
“Paired with the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, we remain ready to execute the full range of military operations from crisis response to disaster relief.”
The F-35B is scheduled to embark on Wasp when the amphibious assault ship and MEU deploy in 2018 for regularly scheduled regional patrol.
“It’s an exciting time to be in the Navy, and an exciting time for Wasp and her crew, given the wide variety of missions we have the opportunity to support,” said Wasp Command Master Chief Gregory Carlson in a release.
“Over the last 18 months, this crew has not only performing their daily duties in an exemplary manner, but grown as individuals and well-represented the U.S. as ambassadors as we have served across the globe. While I’m proud of what they have accomplished, I’m also very proud of who they’ve become as a crew.”