F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jets ready to be deployed on operations
- Credit: PA
The UK's F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jets are ready to be deployed on operations for the first time, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced.
The first of the multimillion-pound aircraft touched down at RAF Marham in Norfolk in June 2018.
Mr Williamson, speaking at the airbase on Thursday, said that nine F-35s were now ready to be deployed on operations, and that the RAF's Typhoon fleet has been upgraded with a new weapons system.
It comes as the last of the Tornados, in service since 1979, will be retired by the end of March.
Mr Williamson said: 'As we bid farewell to the RAF's first century, we are setting our sights on the next 100 years.
You may also want to watch:
'Our nation is moving into a new era outside the EU, and our huge achievements in air capability make our commitment to a role on the world stage clear to both our allies and our enemies.
'The incredible F-35 jets are ready for operations, a transformed Typhoon has the power to dominate the skies into the 2040s and we continue to look even further into an ambitious future.
- 1 Fire crews battling large house blaze
- 2 £6.1m shopping street revamp will take half of 2022 to complete
- 3 Seven cosy pubs to visit in Norfolk this winter
- 4 Roof collapses into home after major blaze engulfs it
- 5 Jailed this week: Primark brawl, attempted murder and abuse
- 6 Three cars crash and two end up in ditches on rural road
- 7 Councils could spend millions to buy former Aviva office for new HQ
- 8 Family forced to live in tent after maggots and rats found in home
- 9 Ford and Jaguar crash in second incident near village in same night
- 10 BBC Autumnwatch returns to Norfolk for another season
'The RAF has long shown Britain at its great and global best, and today it lifts our nation to even greater heights.'
The Defence Secretary made the announcement in front of four aircraft, including the Tempest concept fighter jet model.
The aim is for a next-generation capability to have initial operational capability by 2035.
Around 150 UK personnel had been working with the F-35 jets in the US before the first batch of the supersonic aircraft came to the UK.