By Chris Bishop
Monday, January 14, 2013
Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan today said the decision over where the RAF’s new Joint Strike Fighter will be based would be made soon.
Responding to a question from Norwich South MP Simon Wright in the House of Commons today, Mr Robathan said a basing decision for the Joint Strike Fighter was expected ‘soon’ - but had been delayed as a result of last year’s Autumn Statement.
Mr Wright reminded Ministers of the great potential of RAF Marham as a base for the high-speed jets.
Mr Wright said: “I’m pleased that we now know to expect a decision soon from Ministers. RAF Marham has many strengths as a base for the joint strike fighter, and Ministers have recognised that themselves on a number of occasions.
“Norfolk’s MPs have fought a united front in lobbying Minister’s for RAF Marham’s long term future. There is no doubt that securing the new jets for Marham would ensure that the base has an integral role to play in the UK’s defence capabilities for decades to come.”
Last month Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said it was “likely” that the new aircraft would be based at Marham.
He made the comments while at Fort Worth, in Texas, where he was taking delivery of the first jet, to be known as ‘Lightening II’, ordered by the UK government.
But officials said a basing review still needed to be completed. Marham is competing with RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to become the new jets’ home.