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RAF Marham 'always prepared' for sea overwatch

PUBLISHED: 09:55 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:56 23 July 2019

Group Captain Ian 'Cab' Townsend Station Commander at RAF Marham will be handing over to Group Captain Jim Beck Station Commander Desig next week.
Pictured is Grp Cpt Ian Townsend being interviewed by the media
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Group Captain Ian 'Cab' Townsend Station Commander at RAF Marham will be handing over to Group Captain Jim Beck Station Commander Desig next week. Pictured is Grp Cpt Ian Townsend being interviewed by the media Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

Outgoing group captain Ian 'Cab' Townsend says RAF Marham F35 Lightning squad is "always prepared" for sea overwatch, amid rising tensions in Iran.

Group captain Townsend will be succeeded by group captain Jim Beck, who said that while the new F35 Lightning declared initial operating capability last year, it was currently only being used for shore-based activity. Operational tests are currently ongoing for sea-based activity based on specialised Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. Initial maritime capability for the Lightning will be officially declared in 2021.

Group captain Beck, said: "What the Iran issue has shown is that we're heading in the right direction, we chose the right path for the F35 B to have it marinised because it's never been so relevant and we're proving the need for that capability right now."

Group captain Townsend described the Middle East as a "likely hotspot" adding that as group captain he was always thinking about how the squad could be involved ongoing incidents.

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