The aircrew of the Dambusters (617 Squadron) recreated famous pictures of Guy Gibson’s World War Two flying heroes in their F-35’s.

From Lancaster to Lightning, it was a Squadron born in battle, created for to carry out one of the most daring raids of World War II. Now the Dambusters will once again fly at the forefront of aviation technology as they prepare to become Britain’s first F-358 Lightning Squadron.

On the night of the 16th of May 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson led his men on the famous dams raid using brand new techniques and equipment whilst flying specially modified Lancaster bomber aircraft.

Wing Commander John Butcher, the new Officer Commanding 617 Squadron said:

“We work alongside the US Marines flying the jets and training pilots and maintainers every day. We’ve been working with our US partners since the beginning of the F-35 programme and we continue to develop the capabilities of the aircraft together. We work very closely with the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and other international partners in making decisions on the programme, the relationships really couldn’t be better.”

The F-35B’s maiden deployment is set for late 2017 and its bound for the Western Pacific.

The jet will deploy aboard an amphibious flattop and the US Marine Corps are planning a more powerful escort force to support it, according to Admiral Scott Swift, head of Pacific Fleet, as reported by the Marine Times. The F-35B has already flown from American assault ships as part of a series of tests, which largely went well.

The UK plans to purchase 138 of the type as costs continue to fall and issues with the jet are rapidly resolved.


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Andy Berry

love this image

Brilliant photo!


Great image but this whole story is also a good reminder of what a lot of people don’t realise. I keep having to remind myself of it if I’m honest. Lancaster bomb load (area bombing raid – max incendiary): 14,000lbs F-35 bomb load (including external stores): 18,000lbs(*) A lot of the nay-sayers go on about dogfighting ability and it’s easy to fall into that trap when the media headline it as a fighter but it really brings things into perspective when one realises that it can carry a heavier bomb load than a Lancaster bomber. The F35 is primarily a… Read more »


A very good point and shows how technology has moved warfighting on. But can I gently correct you on the Lancaster. It lifted the 22,000lb ‘Grand Slam’ bomb and regularly lifted 18,000lb on more general missions. It could basically deliver over twice what a B17 or B24 could.

Another little gem was that the Mosquito could deliver the same 4,500lb bombload to Berlin as a B17 but be back in the UK before the B17 got there.


Would have looked better if the F 35 had RAF as opposed to USAF roundels!

Steve Lewis

Jane Pickersgill

Dave Green

617 squadron…. Legends


The biggest risk we currently have with getting these planes is Mr Trump.

I don’t understand why our policiticans are getting involved in US polictics, but the relationship will clearly be pretty strained should he get into power.

We really should get the order in for at least the 40 odd we need for the carriers, before december, to avoid any potential fall out.

If for any reason we can’t get hold of these jets, we are stuffed, there is no other viable option to launch off our carriers.


Best you stick out of politics then Steve…the real world simply doesn’t work that way