F-35B aircraft from 617 Squadron flew from their base at Marham to spend six weeks at RAF Akrotiri as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn, say the RAF.
RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Townsend said:
“It’s just over 76 years since 617 Squadron formed to conduct ground-breaking operations, they are once again called upon to take a capability forwards for the first time. The exercise in Akrotiri will prove our ability to operate F-35 away from RAF Marham and allow us to learn the lessons of operating the air system whilst on deployment.
Today’s departure reflects a tremendously collegiate effort from the RAF, Royal Navy and industrial partners who are now focused on ensuring the deployment is as successful as the preparation phase.”
The Lightning Force is jointly manned by both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.
“This training exercise will allow personnel from both services to gain vital experience in maintaining and flying the aircraft in an unfamiliar environment.”
The exercise, say the RAF, will also examine all aspects of moving this aircraft to a new location, including logistics, maintenance, and sustainment of all the equipment and crew that comes with this impressive aircraft, whilst also enhancing its preparedness for its first operational carrier deployment.