RAF Marham will be the base for the next generation of fast jet strike aircraft it emerged today.

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What Marham means to Norfolk

RAF Marham is worth £130m a year to the East Anglian economy.

It employs 5,170, a rare source of well-qualified, well-paid jobs in an area where unemployment is currently running at 7.4pc - higher than the national average.

The livelihoods of many depend directly or indirectly on the base and the thousands of familes living on and around it.

Defence secretary, Philip Hammond, flew to the Norfolk base to announce the decision to personnel this morning.

The announcement safeguards Marham’s future until 2040 - along with 5,000 jobs and the millions it contributes to the region’s economy each year.

Mr Hammond said Marham had always been the first choice to be home for the Lightning II.

He said the joint strike fighter would be based at Marham as part of a combined RAF and Royal Naval force which would operate the aircraft both from land bases and future aircraft carriers.

“That’s extremely good news for this station, extremely good news for this community and extremely good news for the RAF and Royal Navy.

“I know you will share with me the excitement of having the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft based here and operating from here.”

The decision secures the future of the Norfolk base, where about 5,000 people are employed, which had been in doubt as Tornado squadrons are phased out.

RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland had originally been announced as the preferred base for the new jet but a review of this decision was launched in 2011.

Mr Hammond added: “This is the next step in the restructuring of the armed forces, providing them with the world’s most capable combat aircraft.

“Basing the new Lightning II at RAF Marham makes strategic sense and best use of the resources available.

“It also secures the future of one of the UK’s most operationally experienced bases.

“Now this decision has been taken, we can start the planning and infrastructure investment required for RAF Marham’s future.”

RAF Marham station commander Group Capt David Cooper said he was delighted at the announcement.

He added: “This is excellent news for my personnel, for the local community and region, and for the Royal Air Force and UK Defence.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said the decision made strategic sense and would also boost the area’s economy.

She added: “The Libya campaign, the £50 million worth of engineering facilities, the ongoing presence in Afghanistan all highlighted the real worth of having an operational base in Norfolk.

“The close proximity to the USAF at Lakenheath and Mildenhall is an obvious advantage and with over 5,000 personnel currently working at the base, the substantial wider economic benefits to the region has been estimated at £102 million.

“Today’s announcement will provide the reassurance that RAF Marham’s future is secure for many, many years to come and is really excellent news for Norfolk as a whole.”

The EDP teamed up with politicians and community groups to launch the Make It Marham campaign in 2010.

Ms Truss added: “We campaigned across Norfolk to show how important the base is for the Norfolk community.”

17 comments

  • I hope they're quieter than the Tornadoes we have flying over the village day and night.

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    Thoreauwasright

    Friday, March 29, 2013

  • I expect tomorrow's EDP take will be: "This could not have been achieved if we had Leveson law imposed on us". That's all we hear at the moment.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Have not seen or heard any comment from Henry Bellingham in regard to this good news for RAF Marham, perhaps he is too busy with his "one agenda" item the incinerator to bother with anything positive in West Norfolk, no doubt he will be around for a photo opportunity.

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    Norfolcia

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • This prime nuclear target has been announced just in time to support the local Tory's, split and despised for their lack of democratic accountability. Marham was always the preferred choice, nobody would have contemplated moving away from Lossiemouth once Scottish Independence has been confirmed, indeed this is an indication of what the hierarchy thinks on Scottish Independence, they seem to have conceded it as fact. Marham was always the better option as it lies in proximity to Mildenhall and Lakeheath, the two major US logistic hubs for Europe's bases, who also are a prime nuclear target. We have the Tory's to thank for this double whammy.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

  • Good news for RAF Marham and local economy. But EDP please learn how to spell check. The F-35 is called Lightning II not Litening II

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    Griffon

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Great news for RAF Marham and the local community as a lot of local people work at the base, if the base had closed a lot of people would have been out of work.

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    TinaH

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • "Mr Hammon said Marham had always been the first choice to be home for the Litening II." - Litening? It just gets worse!

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    Thoreauwasright

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • This was a done deal yonks ago, you only have to look at the facts. The Tories have only been waiting for an appropriate time to release the news and when better now they are at a all time low in the polls with there chins scraping along the ground as UKIP takes their place.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • So the Labour govt tell Lossiemouth they will be getting this JSF. The along comes the Tories with their little chums in tow. They tell Marham they will be getting it. In less than two years time we will be back to a Labour govt and Lossiemouth will get it. Bit like musical jets. Whoever is in power when the music stops and the jets arrive gets to say where they go. Or has no-one realised this?

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    alecto

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

  • Oh joy Good news for some no doubt

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    spark

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Many more pages devoted to this minority interest event in the paper today as the EDP desperately promotes its favourite local tory politicians. Any excuse is good enough. What exactly did Truss do to win the day, apart from huffing and puffing in the paper at every opportunity. Then a few pages in is another withc and former incumbent of the SW Norfolk seat getting the full promotional works from the grovelling EDP.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

  • Hoorah, Lizzy Truss saves the day. How many pages of sycophantic grovelling will be devoted to her tomorrow? I am so pleased, you see this part of Norfolk truly benefits from the infestation of RAF types, as will be proven again in May.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Personally I would have rather they went elsewhere or preferably didn't exist, as these are nothing but machines of death and destruction that are used by corrupt governments like ours to further their agenda in places where they should keep there dirty noses out of.

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    Catton Man

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Its great news for the region. It wasn't a foregone conclusion as some claim, it was well documented and studied that Lossiemouth would host both Typhoon and JSF.

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    d, west lynn

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

  • Excellent news, but if it were not for Cloe, Norman, Keith, Elizabeth and George where would we be!!

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    beverley

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Another sure fire vote winner for ET, along with the handout to working couples for childcare costs (£1,200 per child under 5 just so long as combined earnings are below £300,000, yes, £300,000, you read it right the first time).

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Monday, March 25, 2013

  • Had to Marham,never really in doubt. With the independance vote to come yet in Scotland ,I don't think the government wanted to take the chance on basing the new fast jet stike in a foreign country.

    Report this comment

    regandharry

    Monday, March 25, 2013

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

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