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Report: Marines to Launch F-35B for Initial Combat Mission Soon

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The U.S. Marine Corps could see its F-35B fighter jets take off for an initial combat mission in the next few days after an amphibious assault ship started its voyage toward the Persian Gulf, CNN reported Wednesday.

Defense officials told the publication that the Lockheed Martin-built F-35B aircraft aboard the USS Essex ship could be deployed soon to support airstrikes in Afghanistan.

The report said USMC declared its short takeoff, vertical landing variant of F-35 combat ready in 2015.

The Marines transferred the first F-35B fighter attack squadron from Arizona to Japan in January 2017 as part of the service’s worldwide deployment effort.