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BBC Radio 4 Today programme broadcasts special edition from RAF Marham

PUBLISHED: 08:59 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:59 28 March 2018

A Tornado GR4 flies over the site at RAF Marham where the second runway is under construction. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 flies over the site at RAF Marham where the second runway is under construction. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A leading national radio programme is broadcasting a special edition from RAF Marham to mark the 100th anniversary of the air force.

BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Sarah Montague is broadcasting from a studio set up in the small museum at the Norfolk airbase this morning (Wednesday, March 28), which is preparing for the arrival of the F-35B Lightning aircraft later this year.

She introduced the programme by saying the base had been in service for all of the RAF’s 100 years and is preparing to replace its current Tornado aircraft, which have flown from the base since 1990.

She took a flight in a Tornado from Marham to Merseyside, with Wing Commander James Heap saying the plane had been a “bedrock of the RAF since it first entered service in 1982”.

She also interviewed Wng Cmdr Heap about the changes taking place this year, which also include £500m of investment in preparation for the arrival of the F-35B Lightning.

Wng Cmdr Heap said that while the equipment is changing, its staff are not - but that he faces competition holding onto his talented staff whose “operational experience is highly sought after”.

Ms Montague also interviewed military historian Patrick Bishop as long as Dick Russell, who flew planes carrying nuclear weapons.

Later she spoke to Group Cat Ian Townsend, RAF Marham station commander, who defended the cost of bringing the F-35B Lightning to Norfolk, while Rev (Squadron Leader) Geoffrey Firth gave the programme’s regular “though for the day”.

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