USA USMC UH 1Y 640UDP news from Japan

AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267 Stingers ('UV-xx') will be replaced by the same helicopter types of HMLA-169 Vipers ('SN-xx') in the US Marine Corps Unit Deployment Programme (UDP) at MCAS Futenma (Japan).

Both helicopter squadrons are originating from MCAS Camp Pendleton (CA) and relieve each other in Japan by late April 2021. HMLA-267 arrived in Japan last November.

Currently, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 465 Warhorse ('YJ-xx') flying the CH-53E Sea Stallion, and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232 Red Devils ('WT-xx') with their F/A-18C Hornets (based at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan) are also on UDP in Japan.

It is expected that HMH-465, which also arrived in November 2020, will be replaced soon too.

USA USMC AH 1Z 3 480VMFA-232 arrived in March 2021 and replaced VMFA-312 Checkerboards ('DR-xx') that returned to home base MCAS Beaufort (SC).

The whole is for the duration of a common six-month UDP, assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The HMLA-squadron will temporarily be assigned with a locally based MV-22B Osprey squadron, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 Flying Tigers ('ET-xx') or VMM-265 Dragons ('EP-xx'), which are on a rotating base part of an Aviation Combat Element (ACE). That ACE is part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit and usually embark on the forward deployed and Sasebo (Japan) based USS America (LHA-6). Of course F-35B squadrons (VMFA-121 Green Knights 'VK-xx') and VMFA-242 Bats ('DT-xx'), both based at Iwakuni, also delegate their Lightning IIs to the ACE on a rotating base.

Photo by USMC Sgt. Lillian Stephens (AH-1Z) and USMC Lance Cpl. Ethan M. LeBlanc (UH-1Y)

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