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A major milestone in the British operation of the F-35B has been achieved.

Air Vice-Marshal Richard Knighton has signed the initial ‘Release to Service’ of the aircraft, setting out the safe operation envelope.

Major milestone for Lightning’s introduction into service; a huge effort has gone into producing this.

This will allow pilots with no previous experience of frontline fast jets to operate the aircraft.

The US Marine Corps recently deployed F-35B aircraft to Japan for the jets first operational deployment.

The first squadron of F-35Bs, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, left their base in Arizona on Tuesday the 10th of January and will take a few days to arrive at the Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan.

Capt. Kurt Stahl said:

“The Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft is a true force multiplier. The unique combination of stealth, cutting-edge radar and sensor technology, and electronic warfare systems bring all of the access and lethality capabilities of a fifth-generation fighter, a modern bomber, and an adverse-weather, all-threat environment air support platform.”

VMFA-121 received its first F-35B in November 2012 ahead of the Marine Corps announcement of initial operational capability for the jet in July 2015. VMFA-121 has taken part in numerous drills and exercises in the US involving the F-35B.

The jets will also deploy aboard an amphibious flattop later in the year. The F-35B has already flown from American assault ships as part of a series of tests, which largely went well.

The US Marine Corps has said it is also capable of deploying their F-35’s to the Middle East, if necessary.

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