Posted on April 8, 2019
The UK’s F-35B Lightning stealth fighter jets will start their first overseas deployment to RAF Akrotiri 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 multimillion-pound aircraft, with a total of 138 expected to be bought.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson 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.”
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, according to the MOD. The jets, which are believed to cost £190m each, have the ability to operate from land and sea.