New Marham jet set for first UK appearance

PUBLISHED: 12:18 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:18 24 April 2014

A prototype F35 Lightning II flies over America. Picture: Submitted.

A prototype F35 Lightning II flies over America. Picture: Submitted.

The RAF’s newest fast jet, which will be based in Norfolk, will make its first UK flight this summer.

The F-35 Lightning II will make its debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, Glos, in July. In the same month, it will also appear at the Farnborough International Air Show.

Both appearences will be the first time the new combat aircraft has flown outside of the United States.

Officials say the choice of two British airshows to unveil the aircraft demonstrates the significant role that Britain has in jets’ construction. Approximately 15pc of every aircraft is built in the UK.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The US and the UK have worked closely together on the F-35 project from the beginning. We are the only country that is a Level 1 partner in the project, which is sustaining tens of thousands of jobs in the UK.

“This fifth generation stealth combat aircraft will be a major boost to British combat air power and it is entirely fitting that the F-35’s first stop outside the United States will be in the UK.”

Britain currently has three aircraft which are all based in the US undertaking training with Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pilots.

The UK’s first operational Lightning II squadron, 617 Squadron, is set to transfer to RAF Marham in 2018 ahead of flight trials of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier later that year.

Marham will be the Lightning’s main shore base, while the jets will be carried to overseas deployments by carrier.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is open to the public from July 11 - 13, while Farnborough International Air Show is open to the public from July 19 - 20.

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