RAF's first F-35B Lightning II fighter arrives at Fairford station in UK


F-35

The UK Royal Air Force's (RAF) first F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft has arrived in the country after a two-year delay due to a technical problem.

RAF Squadron leader Hugh Nichols piloted the aircraft to RAF Fairford accompanied by a pair of US Marine Corps' F-35Bs, BBC News reported.

The three aircraft landed in Fairford station after crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

The British and American aircraft have arrived to take part in two major airshows being conducted in the UK.

RAF Aviation deputy commandant lieutenant general Jon Davis said: "The US Marine Corps is looking forward to demonstrating the capabilities of the F-35B Lightning II in the skies over the UK this July."

The F-35B Lightning II with advanced stealth capabilities will operate with RAF and Royal Navy starting from 2018, according to the news agency.

The aircraft's advanced electronic warfare capabilities will help soldiers to identify enemy forces, jam radars and disrupt attacks.

"The F-35s are the most advanced fast jets in the world."

Commenting on the aircraft plan to participate in international shows, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon had earlier said: "The F-35s are the most advanced fast jets in the world.

"Whether operating from land or from one of our two new aircraft carriers, the UK's largest ever, they will ensure we have a cutting edge and formidable fighting force.

"The plan for F-35 aircraft to take part in air shows here in the UK this summer is a significant milestone, for our RAF and Royal Navy personnel training hard to fly the F-35; for British industry who are contributing an impressive 15% of every aircraft; and for the British public who will have their first opportunity to see this remarkable aircraft in action."

Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced plans to purchase 24 of the multi-role combat aircraft by 2023.


Image: A rainbow over the F-35B Lightning II fighter and US Marine Corps' F-35Bs. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.