Japan has commenced trials of the short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) Lockheed Martin F-35B aboard its newly-converted 27,000 tonne helicopter destroyer (DDH), JS Izumo.
The trials are reportedly being conducted in the Pacific southeast of the smallest of the home islands, Shikoku, and Izumo will work with an undisclosed number of US Marine Corps F-35Bs based at Iwakuni near Hiroshima where two USMC F-35B squadrons are based. It is unclear if the aircraft were embarked at Iwakuni, or whether they will fly out and back to the vessel for the trials.
Japan has stated a requirement for 42 F-35Bs, and is upgrading Izumo and sister ship Kaga with a modified deck and new coatings, aircraft handling equipment, fuel and weapons bunkerage, and air traffic control systems to operate the F-35B. The modification work on the vessels is reportedly due to be completed by 2026.
This article was published by ADBR on October 5, 2021.
The Second Line of Defense team has projected this development for many years. In particular, Ed Timperlake has provided early and regular assessments of how the F-35B would enter into Pacific defense.
And for an article which Ed Timperlake published in 2010 which foresaw how the F-35B could reshape from the sea operations, see the following: