Posted on Nov 27, 2018
They’ll be flying alongside aircraft from the US and French air forces, in what’s being described as part of an “insurance policy” against global threats. The supersonic aircraft, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, will be among more than 40 planes participating in the training exercise off the east coast of England. Aircraft from the three air forces, including the French Rafale fighter and US F-15, will work as a team to counter threats in a training environment. It is the first time the French air force has been involved in Point Blank, which is led by the US Air Force’s 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. Aircraft will take off from bases around the country, and the number involved has almost doubled this year. RAF Air Commodore Jez Attridge said, “The first point of an air force is to be able to defend the country so you have to recognise the threats out there.” He added: “We can see the environment is changing, we can see the challenge that Russia is giving to the international rules-based order so we are the insurance policy.” He went on to say, ” We are recognising that through the scenario that we’ve got, the non-permissive environment, our ability to operate with our allies, the French and the Americans, is paramount. It really is a case of us staying ready so that we can be used if we need to.” Commodore Attridge described the inclusion of the two F-35s as a “huge milestone” which “really shows the progression that Lightning Force is making”.