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The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced that its newest fifth-generation F-35B Lightning fighter jets have taken to the skies to join Nato’s Enhanced Vigilance patrols.

The multi-role, stealth fighter jets from RAF Marham are participating in Nato’s air defence policing mission for the first time.

The deployment reinforces the alliance’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as contributes to additional security of Europe.

The F-35Bs, along with Typhoon FGR4 jets, will patrol Nato airspace over Romania and Poland. Typhoons are operating from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

Station commander RAF Marham said: “The F-35 is an incredibly capable and versatile aircraft. 

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“Operating alongside the Typhoons to maintain the integrity of the European airspace and contribute to the Nato mission, the fifth-generation fighter is a world-beating fighter aircraft which can simultaneously provide information warfare, intelligence gathering and air-to-air missions.”

The UK’s F-35B Lightning aircraft can be equipped with numerous air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons and execute several missions simultaneously, including air defence policing while collecting intelligence.

The RAF Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft from RAF Brize Norton is providing additional fuel for the fighters taking part in the enhanced mission.

Last week, RAF’s Poseidon aircraft joined a Nato collective defence patrolling mission to conduct surveillance missions.

The maritime patrol aircraft, along with other ships and jets, is involved in tracking Russian warships in the Mediterranean Sea.