Aviation lovers get glimpse of F-22 Raptor as fighter jet comes to RAF Lakenheath
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Sleek, agile and deadly, the F-22 Raptor is a fighter pilot's dream ride.
And people in the vicinity of RAF Lakenheath will be craning their neck to get a glimpse of the single-seat US Air Force jet as it trains at the Suffolk base in the coming weeks.
Pilots from the 95th Fighter Squadron - nicknamed the 'Boneheads' - have accompanied the planes to the UK on a deployment from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to carry out training until May.
Yesterday, aviation fans and dignitaries had a chance to see the jet up close before it formally begins training.
They also heard from UK and US air force leadership, with the Raptors set to train alongside RAF Typhoons.
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Colonel David Eaglin, vice commander of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, said joint training was essential as the allies work together to repel foreign threats.
'We are grateful that the UK allow us the opportunity to train here and from a US perspective it's a chance to get combat ready while showing a commitment to the defence of our nations,' he said.
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The Typhoons' involvement will provide a new challenge for the F-22 pilots, who have previously been predominantly training against other US aircraft.
Air Commodore Ian Duguid, commander of the RAF's Typhoon Force, said the Raptors' visit also worked in the opposite direction, with RAF jets getting a rare experience.
'We have a very close relationship with the US Air Force here in the UK, and particularly at RAF Marham.
'This visit will help that as we train with them,' he said.
Air Cmdr Duguid added that the visit would aid Marham and Lakenheath's relationship as both bases prepare to welcome the next-generation F-35 Lightning jet at the end of the decade.
Engineering infrastructure is due to be installed at both bases as it awaits the £60m jet's arrival.
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