Thursday, 30th June 2016 09:01
The first of the RAF’s new fleet of supersonic £100m fighter jets has touched down in the UK.
The F-35B Lightning II – the world’s most advanced stealth combat aircraft – arrived on British soil for the first time overnight at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
It was flown by RAF pilot Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols on its maiden nine-hour transatlantic crossing.
Ther state-of-the-art fighter jet was accompanied by two United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft from their training base at Beaufort, South Carolina.
The combined British and American team of aircrew and engineers are in the UK to demonstrate just what the supersonic aircraft can do.
Aviation enthusiasts will be able to catch a glimpse of them when they are showcased at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough International Air Show over the coming weeks.
The aircraft is due to enter service with the Royal Navy and RAF from 2018.
The F-35 has three main models. The F-35A is a conventional take-off and landing variant, the F-35B is a short take-off and vertical-landing variant and the F-35C is a carrier-based variant.
According to the RAF, The Lightning II design “applies stealth technology manufacturing techniques to minimise its radar signature”.
“It will put the RAF at the forefront of fighter technology and will give it a true multi-role aircraft that will surpass the majority of other weapons systems in production today, or envisaged in the foreseeable future.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The F-35Bs are the most advanced fast jets in the world.
“Whether operating from land or from one of our two new aircraft carriers, they will ensure we have a formidable fighting force.”