CULDROSE HAWKS WELCOME NEW JETS TO THE UK
Hawk Jets from RNAS Culdrose based 736 Naval Air Squadron, flew alongside two F-35 B Lightning II aircraft as they sneaked-a-peek at HMS Queen Elizabeth, over Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland.
The historic flypast marks a milestone for UK Defence and the future of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force combat air fleets. The carrier-borne F-35B Joint Strike Fighters flew over their prospective ‘homes’; HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales as well as RAF Marham in Norfolk, where they will eventually be based.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said, “The F-35Bs are the most advanced fast jets in the world. Whether operating from land or from one of our two new aircraft carriers, they will ensure we have a formidable fighting force. The Lightning II is part of our plan for a stronger and better defence: more ships, more aircraft, more troops available at readiness, better equipment for special forces, more being spent on cyber – to deal with the increased threats to our country.”
The fifth generation F-35B jets are the most advanced aircraft ever built for the UK and will be operated initially by 617 Squadron - ‘The Dambusters’ – RAF and 809 -‘The Immortals’ -Naval Air Squadron.
“This marks a significant milestone in the nation’s return to aircraft carrier aviation and carrier strike,” said Head of the Fleet Air Arm, Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE. “Both ships have been designed from the keel up to operate the F-35B. The RAF and RN are working ever closer to see fixed-wing aircraft once more operating from Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers. I feel very proud to be part of it.”
The carriers will provide over four-acres of sovereign territory, which can be deployed around the world, travelling at upwards of 500 nautical miles a day. Both ships are capable of carrying up to thirty six F-35B Lightning II stealth jets.
Following the flypast at the QEC, the aircraft flew on to RAF Marham in Norfolk where Station personnel and invited local guests, demonstrating what the station can expect when the station becomes its home base in 2018.
Three jets arrived in the UK for the first time earlier this week after a nine-hour transatlantic crossing. They will take centre stage in a number of Air Shows around this country this summer, principally the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire from 8-10 July and the Farnborough International Airshow, 11-17 July.