F-35s touch down in the UK

The first four of Britain's new cutting-edge aircraft arrived into RAF Marham their new home in Norfolk from the US. 

 

 

The F-35s took off from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and were flown by British pilots of the newly-reformed 617 Squadron, which was immortalised by the famous Dambusters' raid of World War II.

 

The F-35s' arrival in the UK two months ahead of schedule provides an opportunity for support staff to get a head-start in getting the aircraft ready for operational service at the end of this year.

 

Around £550m has been invested in RAF Marham as part of a major change programme to get the base ready to house the new jets. The base has seen an upgrade in facilities, resurfaced runways and the addition of new landing pads to accommodate the jet's ability to land vertically.

 

"These formidable fighters are a national statement of our intent to protect ourselves and our allies from intensifying threats across the world. With a game-changing ability to collect crucial intelligence, fight wars and tackle terrorism, these are the most advanced jets in British history," said defence secretary Gavin Williamson.

 

The Lightning, as the aircraft will be known in the UK, is the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short take-offs and vertical landings. It will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and can operate from land and sea, forming a vital part of 'carrier strike', the use of the aircraft from Britain's new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

 

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