Posted on July 17, 2019
A second training squadron of state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning jets arrived at RAF Marham on Tuesday. The arrival of 207 Squadron will see all training on the next-generation jet conducted in the UK for the first time.
“The arrival of 207 Squadron represents another milestone in the progress of this world-beating aircraft,” said Defence Minister Mark Lancaster, who welcomed the aircraft at RAF Marham. “As we welcome 207 Squadron home from our US allies, the transatlantic military relationship continues to be the strongest and deepest of any two nations in the world.”
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff said to be “delighted” to see the second squadron arrive. “Being able to train our pilots in the UK is another great leap in our sovereign capability and will ensure the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy can train our pilots to fight and win with these extraordinary jets, which will sit at the heart of our country’s globally deployable forces,” said the Chief of the Air Staff. Since 2013 Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel have trained alongside US Marine Corps counterparts at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort.
Six of the cutting-edge aircraft took the 10-hour flight from MCAS Beaufort in South Carolina. The formation included the UK’s 18th Lightning fighter jet, demonstrating the UK’s progress towards meeting the projected order of 138 aircraft over the life of the programme. 207 Squadron will formally stand up on 1 August 2019 and the first F-35 pilot course at RAF Marham is due to commence in early September. Engineers are already trained at RAF Marham’s Integrated Training Centre, part of a £550m investment in the Station which has also seen the resurfacing of runways and the addition of new landing pads to allow the jets to land vertically.