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Published: 23 Jan 2020

Royal Navy F-35 pilots have left the UK to take part in a multi-national combat exercise in the USA for the first time.

Aircraft from 617 Squadron left their RAF Marham home for Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, via a pit stop at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.

Exercise Red Flag is a multi-national combat training exercise which is conducted on the vast bombing ranges of the Nevada Test and Training Area.

This will be the first time that the UK's F-35 Lightnings will have taken part in the exercise, which will see them flying alongside a variety of aircraft from other nations to maximise combat readiness.

RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Jim Beck said: "This is another first for the Lightning Force and will give the opportunity for our pilots to really put the F-35s to the test in a combat-representative environment. 

“This training is as near to high-end operational flying as our pilots can get in a controlled environment and will really test them and the teams that support the squadron."


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