F-35 Lightnings take off from Marham to join HMS Queen Elizabeth for first time
PUBLISHED: 14:56 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 09 October 2019
The RAF's new stealth fighter has taken off to join the UK's new aircraft carrier for the first time.
Three F-35 Lightning aircraft based at Marham have left Norfolk today to join the HMS Queen Elizabeth off the east coast of America.
The warplanes are being accompanied by an RAF Voyager flying tanker, which will keep them topped up with fuel during the flight, which is expected to take nine to 10 hours.
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They will land at the Beaufort airbase, in South Carolina, before making the final leg of their journey to land on the carrier.
The warship has been taking part in exercises with US and Royal Navy vessels.
Lightnings will become the first fast jets to join the giant carrier at sea, which will transport them to deployments around the globe.
Ahead of the exercise - code-named Westlant19 - the Royal Navy said: "The carrier, F-35s and supporting units will be rigorously tested under realistic war fighting scenarios, visiting Canada and the USA during the three-month mission."