The UK Ministry of Defence has announced the arrival of a second training squadron of F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft at Royal Air Force (RAF) station Marham.

Six of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35s arrived at the airbase from US Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort in South Carolina, US.

The latest tranche of aircraft to arrive in the UK includes the country’s 18th Lightning fighter aircraft.

RAF 207 Squadron is expected to be formally established on 1 August this year.

Arrival of the second squadron will enable all training on the F-35 to be conducted in the UK for the first time.

F-35B pilots from RAF and British Royal Navy personnel have been training at the MCAS Beaufort facility since 2013.

The first pilot training course on the F-35 aircraft at RAF Marham is scheduled for September this year.

UK Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said: “The arrival of 207 Squadron represents another milestone in the progress of this world-beating aircraft.

“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.”

The UK has previously received two tranches of F-35s. The first F-35B Lightning squadron, the 617 Dambusters Squadron, arrived last year.

The RAF completed the first operational mission of the fighter jets during sorties flown over Iraq and Syria.

RAF 207 Squadron commanding officer wing commander Scott Williams said: “After experiencing the excellent training offered by our US allies and achieving a good level of experience and knowledge across our instructors, the time is now right to move 207 Squadron from the US to the UK.

“We are thoroughly looking forward to being based at RAF Marham and training our F-35 pilots here in the UK.”

The UK has plans to purchase a total of 138 F-35 jets over the life of the programme.

RAF Marham will be the permanent home of the UK F-35B fleet.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force’s F-35A aircraft touched down at the RAF airbase to conduct joint training.