The UK’s latest jet fighter aircraft should finally arrive in the UK tomorrow as the first Lockheed Martin F35-B Lightning II’s fly into RAF Marham.
The Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) will form the backbone of the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy attack aircraft replacing the role previously carried out by the Tornado and Harrier respectively.
The UK is committed to 138 F35’s across the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy and will operate from land and sea-borne bases including Britains newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Capable of vertical take-off and landings the F35 is ideal for use by both forces in the same way as the Harrier was in the role of air to air and ground attack. Having stealth capabilities also gives the F35 a significant advantage in these roles.
Capable of speeds up to Mach 1.6 (approximate 1,200mph) have a range of around 900nm. This means they will need to be refuelled around 12 times on their trip across the Atlantic today. The RAF will be supplying in-flight refuelling along the route using its A330 Voyager tankers.
The Jets are expected to arrive around 19:00hrs BST but it could be later or postponed for operational and weather reasons.