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Update: USAF F-35s arrive at RAF Lakenheath

One of the initial four F-35As that arrived at RAF Lakenheath on 15 December. (US Air Force)

The first US Air Force (USAF) Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters to be permanently based overseas arrived at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath in the UK on 15 December.

Four aircraft from the 495th ‘Valkyries' Squadron arrived at the unit's new home station for operations about two months after being stood up in October.

The remainder of the squadron is set to arrive in the UK over the coming days and weeks. As previously announced by the USAF, a second squadron at RAF Lakenheath will be announced in due course.

The standing up of the first USAF F-35A unit at RAF Lakenheath was scheduled to happen in 2020, but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Once fully operational with the 48th Fighter Wing, the F-35As will replace the Boeing F-15C Eagles and augment the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles at the station.

Having declared initial operational capability for its conventional take-off and landing variant F-35A in August 2016, the USAF is now ramping up its aircraft numbers and basing locations. The USAF has a programme of record of 1,763 F-35As over the life of the programme, of which approximately 300 have been delivered to date.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces

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