RAF's latest F-35 fighter jets arrive at RAF Marham in Norfolk
13 days ago
The next generation of fighter aircraft for the RAF and the Royal Navy have landed at their new home in Marham, Norfolk
[YouTube Video - ITV News]
The F-35 Lightning stealth warplanes each cost nearly £100m. Britain has 15 of the short take-off and vertical landing aircraft and will buy 138 in total from American aviation giant Lockheed Martin.
They will former part of the newly re-formed 617 Squadron which was the famous Dambusters flying unit from the Second World War. They will operate on land and at sea including off the decks of the new £3.1 billion Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
The first four F-35s were flown 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from South Carolina on an eight-hour journey supported by mid-air refuelling.
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.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, greeted the pilots as they climbed out of their cockpits. He congratulated them and praised their achievement:
It’s a historic moment and I’ve congratulated the pilots on a long transit across the Atlantic but it’s great to see them back here at RAF Marham.
Five more UK F-35B jets are expected to arrive from the US at RAF Marham by the beginning of August.
They are expected to be in operation by the end of December.
Source: ITV / Forces.TV