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Squadron which will train F-35 Lightning pilots at RAF Marham announced

PUBLISHED: 10:06 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:06 06 July 2017

Chief Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, during a visit at RAF Marham to see the progress  being made to prepare for the arrival of the F-35 Lightning. Picture: SAC Victoria Goodall

Chief Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, during a visit at RAF Marham to see the progress being made to prepare for the arrival of the F-35 Lightning. Picture: SAC Victoria Goodall

© UK MoD Crown Copyright 2017

The squadron which will train future RAF and Royal Navy pilots to fly the most advanced fighter jets at RAF Marham has been announced.

The F-35 Lightning making its first flypast over its future home at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtThe F-35 Lightning making its first flypast over its future home at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

The F-35B Lightning pilots will be trained by 207 Squadron with the announcement made by Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, and First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, during a visit to RAF Marham.

New infrastructure is currently being built at the base, near Downham Market, and will include a new hanger capable of housing the stealth fighters, as well as the resurfacing of two existing runways and taxiways.

Vertical landing pads will also be added to accommodate the jet’s ability to land vertically.

Sir Stephen Hillier said: “I am very pleased to announce that the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) for the UK’s F-35B Lightning fleet will be 207 Squadron.

“The squadron has a proud and distinguished history, not only as an RAF squadron but as one of the earliest squadrons of the Royal Naval Air Service which, with the Royal Flying Corps, came together to form the Royal Air Force on April 1 1918.

“Preparations for the arrival of the first UK Lightnings next year are progressing well.

“The investment of £250m in infrastructure here at RAF Marham will ensure the station has the facilities to match this world-class aircraft when it arrives next year.

“As the home of the UK Lightning Force the station will be at the heart of UK airpower for decades to come.”

The first Lightnings will arrive at the base in summer next year when the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots, currently training in the United States, will return as 617 Squadron, the Dambusters.

The Lightning OCU will stand up as 207 Squadron on July 1 2019.

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