Vice Adm. Hideki Yuasa, commander in chief, Self-Defense Fleet (JMSDF), Lt. Gen. Kizuki Ushijima, chief of staff, Ground Component Command, Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), and Lt. Gen. Takehiro Morita, vice commander of Air Defense Command, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) came aboard to discuss the F-35B Lightning II operations.
Capt. Joel Lang, Tripoli’s commanding officer, provided a brief that detailed the capabilities of the ship and the options Tripoli offers to numbered fleet commanders. These include the ability to operate as a lightning carrier, employment of the F-35B, or operating as the flagship of an amphibious ready group with a traditional Marine expeditionary unit embarked.
The guests, who are interested in their own F-35 program, had a lot of questions for Capt. Lang and his team. These focused on ship design features that optimize air operations, Navy/Marine Corps integration, Tripoli’s ability to operate independently, and challenges the crew worked through to operate at such a high level.
The visit also included a tour of Tripoli, visiting primary flight control and the hangar bay, which also included a training exhibition of the F-35B. The guests were able to see and discuss the innovations which Tripoli employs in order to support air operations, to include: a reconfigured flight deck, larger fuel capacity, and more depot-level maintenance facilities.
USS Tripoli (LHA 7) is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.