Sailors and distinguished visitors watch an F-35B Lightning II aircraft conduct vertical takeoff and landing flight operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in May 2015.

US platform for stealth jets in Pacific

By Brad Lendon, CNN

Hong Kong—The US military boosted its stealth attack options in the Pacific on Saturday when the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp moved into the 7th Fleet area of operations.

The 40,00-ton, 844-foot-long Wasp is essentially a baby aircraft carrier. Built in 1980s, it has been upgraded to deploy new Marine Corps F-35B stealth fighter jets.

The fifth-generation fighter jets are seen as a major advantage for the United States in any contingencies involving North Korea as they are undetectable by Pyongyang’s radars.

While the Marine Corps F-35s, which are based in Iwakuni, Japan, have been involved in recent shows of force on the Korean Peninsula, their ability to take off from the Wasp rather than an airfield brings a new dimension, said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center.