2018-01-16 By Robbin Laird
The USS Wasp has spent the last few years as the workhorse of F-35B testing for the amphibious fleet.
While it was doing this, the Osprey was revolutionizing the strike force onboard the amphibious fleet. And waiting in the wings is the coming of the new Super Stallion, which will add a whole new lift capability to the ampbhious strike force.
With the Marines deployed in Japan with the first F-35Bs and now the USS Wasp joining them, the F-35B now has operational sea legs. This means that the very flexibility, which a vertical lift aircraft has both on sea and on the land, has come to a theater where threats abound and challenges are certainly real,
As allies look forward to augmenting their capabilities, they are looking in part to new amphibious ships or adding to the “amphibiosity” of the combat fleet as one Marine Corps General put it.
And the new air combat assets certainly can transform the operational impact of the amphibious strike force.
The coming of the USS Wasp to Japan along with the already deployed F-35 squadron to Japan is the beginning of a new chapter in warfare.
It is about shaping a very capable insertion force which can operate in the evolving spectrum of warfare.
The US and the allies engaging peer competitors with evolving capabilities is requiring nothing less than changing our own template of operations and introducing new capabilities, fifth generation aircraft, new C2 systems, laying down the foundation for distributed operations, developing enhanced multi-domain operational capabilities.
There is a major shift in operational foci for both peer competitors and the US and its allies, which is being empowered by new systems, new training, new concepts of operations, and new areas of conflict, such as in the cyber domain.
And this in turn in resetting the spectrum of conflict within which engagements are occurring and will occur.
The amphibious task force empowered by Ospreys and F-35s, and other key assets coming to the fleet provide an evolved tool set to operate in changing combat conditions and threats.
There is always the reactive enemy; then there is the innovation which the United States and its allies can deliver as well to affect an adversary’s calculus.
The USS Wasp and its crew along with any embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit is a key part of the innovation which the United States is bringing to the defense of the democratic world.