Marham F-35 Lightnings set for first overseas deployment
- Credit: Archant
RAF Marham's F-35B Lightning stealth fighter jets will start their first overseas deployment in Cyprus later this year.
It will allow RAF and Royal Navy personnel to gain experience in maintaining and flying the aircraft in an unfamiliar environment, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
The UK currently owns 17 of the aircraft, and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson pledged that a total of 138 will be bought.
He said: 'These formidable fighters are a national statement of our intent to protect ourselves and our allies from intensifying threats across the world.
'This deployment marks an important milestone in this game-changing aircraft's journey to becoming fully operational.'
You may also want to watch:
The home base of the F-35s is Marham and they will be deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.
The jets' first embarkation on aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, due to happen in the autumn, will also be an important milestone to 'prove their readiness', said Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.
- 1 Moment delivery driver walks through shop window
- 2 What can't open in Norfolk on May 17 - and why
- 3 Two Norfolk destinations named among most scenic in UK
- 4 Five rare birds that have been spotted in Norfolk
- 5 Martin Lewis: How to get your hands on £280 if you worked from home
- 6 Man kicked and punched in head by group of attackers
- 7 Giles Orpen-Smellie elected as police and crime commissioner
- 8 Hotel owner on directing The Only Way is Essex stars in Norfolk
- 9 Village pub's burgers are a hit for our reviewer as eating out returns
- 10 Dinomania tour heading to Norfolk with giant dinosaurs that move
The F-35 is the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short take-offs and vertical landings, the MoD said.
It has the ability to operate from land and sea. The first of the F-35s touched down in the UK in June 2018, and it was announced in January that they are ready to be deployed on operations.
The multimillion-pound aircraft replace the Tornado, which was based at Marham for more than 30 years.