Not only are U.S. Marines experimenting with a new aircraft carrier concept, but they are also taking a fresh look at forming "mini" carrier strike groups to fill in when the carriers are called away.

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The Air Force's variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to fly combat operations if needed, a defense official said on Monday.

"They were already scheduled to come out here for an exercise," the defense official told Task & Purpose. "But they are operational, so when or if they get called to get on an ATO [air tasking order], they will be on one."

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A Japan Coast Guard vessel and a U.S. military aircraft conduct rescue and search operations at the site where an Air Self-Defense Force's F-35A stealth fighter jet crashed during an exercise on April 9, 2019, off Aomori prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 10, 2019 (Kyodo/Reuters)

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two days after one of Japan's F-35 stealth fighters plunged into the Pacific and no closer to finding out why it happened, investigators face a daunting task to recover what remains of the highly classified jet from the ocean depths.

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A Japan Coast Guard vessel and a U.S. military aircraft conduct rescue and search operations at the site where an Air Self-Defense Force's F-35A stealth fighter jet crashed during an exercise on April 9, 2019, off Aomori prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 10, 2019 (Kyodo/Reuters)

TOKYO (Reuters) - Search and rescue teams found wreckage from a crashed Japanese F-35 stealth fighter in the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan, and are scouring the waters for the missing pilot, authorities said on Wednesday.

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In the latest show of military muscle in the South China Sea, the U.S. has apparently sailed its USS Wasp amphibious assault ship near a strategic reef claimed by Beijing and Manila that lies just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.

An F-35A fighter with Japan's Air Self Defense Force has crashed while flying over the Pacific Ocean roughly 84 miles from the Japanese mainland.

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