Britain’s first F-35B fighters to arrive in UK
- June 4, 2018
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the first of the RAF’s F-35 Lightning II aircraft will arrive in the UK early next week.
They will be flown by members of the newly reformed 617 Squadron, which flew and was immortalized by the Lancaster bombers that carried out the 1943 Dambusters mission.
Speaking on the new Squadron, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Just like those Lancasters which played such a vital role in the Second World War, the F-35B Lightning is based on great British design, operating with futuristic technology to adapt to an increasingly dangerous world.”
The 617 Squadron’s commanding officer, Wing Commander John Butcher, said: “I have the great privilege of leading a jointly manned Squadron made up of the best engineers, mission support personnel and pilots from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.”
Britain currently has 15 of the F-35B – the short take off and vertical landing variant – based in the US where they are being used for testing and training.
F-35s will be a key part of the Royal Air Force and also make-up the air wing of aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.