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Contract for more of RAF Marham’s Lightning II aircraft to be signed in the coming weeks

15:05 28 October 2014

F-35B Lightning II

F-35B Lightning II

A deal for new jets to operate from RAF Marham has moved a step closer, with the Government poised to sign a contract in the coming weeks.

The Ministry of Defence said yesterday that it had reached an agreement in principle for the first batch of the Lightning II stealth combat aircraft, which will operate from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, as well as the Norfolk base.

It will be the next stage of a five year process to procure an initial 14 of F-35B high-tech aircraft, together with the necessary support arrangements and infrastructure.

Three of the Lightning II aircraft have already been delivered, with another one due in 2016, and the aircraft to be ordered set to set arriving the same year.

They are being used for testing and evaluation, and are currently in the US.

The UK’s first operational Squadron in the UK will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk in 2018, which will become their main operating base.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Today’s announcement is a major step forward. The Lightning II will equip the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force with a highly advanced multi-role stealth combat aircraft, operating from both our new Queen Elizabeth class carriers and land bases.

“These aircraft will form part of the first UK-based squadron of F-35s, which will take up station at RAF Marham in 2018. This programme is also bringing substantial industrial benefits to the UK, providing thousands of skilled jobs in the UK aerospace industry.”

Bernard Gray, the MOD’s chief of defence materiel, said: “I am delighted that this agreement prepares the way for the first batch of operational combat aircraft. It ensures the MOD remains on target for achieving both operational capability from land bases and the start of flying trials aboard the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2018.

“The aircraft provide an important step on the path to rebuilding the UK’s carrier strike capability. They feature short take off and vertical landing and the latest stealth and intelligence surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance technology.”

7 comments

  • Ingo: ja ja but ARE THEY NOISY?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Thursday, October 30, 2014

  • The F 34, all three versions of it, are incredibly complex and the jet has had many faults. The retrofit for the first batch amounts to 1.2 billion, already, the first missile was fired in 2013 only and anyone interested please consult the LA Times business section for the complete shambles on record.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, October 30, 2014

  • Lucioperca: thanks for that! hopefully the dratted things will have gained altitude by the time they enter Shipdham noise-zone... :-(

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

  • Trust me ...if you think the Tornados at Marham are loud, be prepared to batten down the hatches when F35 arrives because the planned engine configuration is loud on a monumental scale during take-off

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

  • Norman: thank you for that illuminating observation, an classic piece of sophistry if I may say so. And I may, so I do! the choice is not about my being deaf, or being 'protected'. I don't live in Marham. I live in Shipdham, where none of us can 'keep well clear of RAF Marham' because they overfly this manor at low altitude, backburners on, with monotonous regularity. As for 'protecting the country I live in', when I wrote to the MoD about this I was peremptorily told [in terms] that 'the whole of the UK is a military training area' for the purposes of the Brylcreem Boys. Oddly enough, I'd been labouring for 65 years under the misconception that the UK was a country to LIVE IN. Not a military training area :-( Finally, it is your prerogative to have Aircraft Photography as a hobby - someone's got to do it I suppose! - but would you be good enough to explain to me how the volume of noise which pours out of these airborne WMDs enhances the quality of the pics that you take? is this 'son et lumière' at Mach II ?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

  • Martin , I'm sure you would prefer that you are able to hear the sound of Aircraft then be deaf,? you can alway's keep well clear of RAF Marham of course , I,m 76 , having served in the Fleet Air Arm , on Aircraft Carrier's and Royal Naval Air Station , my hobby is Aircraft Photography.. and the louder the Aircraft the better.. after all they are protecting the country you live in..

    Report this comment

    Norman Fuller

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

  • I suppose that it would be too much to expect that the Stealth design might extend to fitting silencers on the bluddy things?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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