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June 20, 2022

RAF’s F-35Bs participate in exercise Ocean Hit in Bay of Biscay

The combat training was conducted with Nato and European partners, including France, Greece, and Switzerland.

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has deployed four F-35B Lightning II aircraft to participate in the air combat training exercise, Ocean Hit.

The exercise was conducted in the Bay of Biscay, a gulf of the north-east Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea.

As part of the exercise, the F-35B aircraft trained with Nato and European partner nations in a combat scenario.

The exercise focused on preparing Nato and partner nations to respond collectively to threats.

The deployed F-35B aircraft are from the 617 Squadron based at RAF Marham. It showcased RAF’s ability to integrate with various partner nations.

Apart from the RAF’s aircraft, Ocean Hit witnessed the participation of a total of 20 combat aircraft, including Greek F-16 jets, Swiss F-18, French Rafale and Mirage 2000

During the exercise, all the aircraft were assigned to perform different combat roles.

The British F-35B carried out simulated air attacks while partner aircraft defeated the enemy air defence systems. 

The aircraft performing defensive roles opposed the simulated attacks during the combat scenarios.

Additionally, the RAF’s only air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tanker aircraft Voyager refuelled the participating fighter jets to extend their air combat sortie duration. 

RAF 617 Squadron executive officer said: “This has been a demanding but extremely productive exercise, where the Lightning F-35B’s have again demonstrated their potency.

“Working with Nato and European partners in a realistic combat scenario provides an opportunity to integrate complementary capabilities and learn from each other.

“In particular, we have learnt some valuable lessons regarding fast jet air-to-air integration with partner nations.”

After the completion of the exercises, the participants exchanged their mission feedback with each other to develop a shared understanding.

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