Search

F-35 jets use new vertical landing pads at RAF Marham for the first time

PUBLISHED: 11:03 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 26 July 2018

An F-35 comes in to land on the first of the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD2018

An F-35 comes in to land on the first of the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD2018

Crown Copyright/MOD2018

For the first time since arriving into the UK, the F-35 Lightning stealth jets have used their vertical landing capability at RAF Marham.

They landed on new Vertical Landing Pads (VLPs) which measures 67m long and 67m wide with a central landing area of 30.5m by 30.5m.

Lt Col Ian Jenkins, Defence Infrastructure Organisation project manager for the VLPs, said: “Vertical landing is a really exciting military capability and from an infrastructure perspective it’s been fascinating to be involved in the design and construction process.

“It was really exciting and rewarding to see an F-35 landing on the first vertical landing pad to be finished and I look forward to seeing more as we continue to work on other infrastructure upgrades required for the F-35s.”

To support the aircraft’s short take off vertical landing (STOVL) capability, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation is building three VLPs through its contractors, a joint venture between Galliford Try and Lagan Construction, at the West Norfolk station.

An F-35 comes in to land on the first of the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD2018An F-35 comes in to land on the first of the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD2018

The F-35’s STOVL capability will provide operational flexibility including landing on the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

Initial flight trials of the F-35 Lightning aircraft from HMS Queen Elizabeth are on track for 2018, allowing a build-up towards delivering a carrier strike capability from 2020.

Due to standard concrete not being suitable for the VLPs, the design team sourced special materials from Germany to make a concrete which has the ability to withstand the high temperatures created by aircraft engines.

This was the first time this material has been used outside the USA and required a rigorous testing process to ensure the landing pads were fit for purpose.

An F-35 comes in to land on the first of the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD2018An F-35 comes in to land on the first of the Vertical Landing Pads at RAF Marham Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD2018

The first use of the new VLPs brings the fighter jets a step closer towards reaching initial operating capability for the UK by the end of the year.

Four of the world’s most advanced warplane touched down at RAF Marham on June 6 with another five excepted to arrive by next month.

They will join the aircraft of the reformed 617 Squadron, the famed Dambusters of the Second World War.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press