A squad of reservists from the Texas Marine Corps (USA) recently began flying practice in embarked Hornet F / A-18 fighters, equipped with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, from the Iwakuni air base in Japan, reported this tuesday the rotary Stars and Stripes of the US Department of Defense.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, @3d_Marine_Div and @IIIMEF executed Noble Jaguar 2021 as a part of an integrated operation with 7th Fleet to maintain readiness and demonstrate U.S. resolve to preserve regional security in a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific. pic.twitter.com/G0olsmQiRb
— 1st MAW Marines (@1stMAW_Marines) October 2, 2021
The report includes statements from Major Kenneth Kunze and states that the 112th Fighter Squadron took off on October 19 on its second mission with AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missiles with a range of 120 kilometers and a 220-kilo warhead.
Furthermore, according to Kunze, actual missile training flights also send a message to the region.
Cowboys Conduct Flight Operations with Harpoon missiles.A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 – Marine Aircraft Group 41 – 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Japan, Oct. 19, 2021.📸 Sgt. Booker Thomas#USMC#F18#Harpoonpic.twitter.com/TelwXoMznZ
— The Dead District (@TheDeadDistrict) October 21, 2021
“The conduct of operations like this demonstrates our firm commitment to our partners and allies in the region and communicates that we are ready to ‘fight now’ in defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” reads the statement from the Corps spokesman. US Marines cited by Stars and Stripes.
The “first chain of islands”, as the specialized media defines the area where US combat aircraft operate, represents a geographical barrier between China, the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea and includes the four main islands of Japan – the Ryukyu Islands. -, Taiwan and the Philippines. Its strategic naval ‘bottlenecks’ are considered vital to any conflict in the area.
In addition to the deployed Texan reservist fighter jets, the US Marine Corps has two squadrons of F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters and one squadron of KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers, also stationed in the area. in Iwakuni. The base is also home to seven squadrons of the 5th Air Wing attached to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.