Demolition ceremony marks a new era for RAF Lakenheath as it prepares for arrival of F-35A fighter jet
- Credit: Archant
A demolition ceremony has marked the first physical step in a new era for RAF Lakenheath which will see the introduction of the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet.
Col Evan Pettus, commander of the US Air Force's 48th Fighter Wing which is stationed at the Suffolk base, swung the first sledgehammer to symbolically break the ground of the construction site.
It will eventually be home to around 1,200 airmen and 54 of the state-of-the-art jets which will comprise of two fighter squadrons.
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'This marks a new beginning for the Liberty Wing,' said Col Pettus. '2021 may seem like the distant future, but there's a lot of work to be done to make sure RAF Lakenheath is prepared for the F-35A's arrival.'
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Demolition is projected to begin between the autumn of 2018 and spring of 2019.
The first F-35As are scheduled to arrive in November 2021, with all aircraft and personnel believed to be in place by late 2023.