F-35 LIGHTNINGS DEPART TO TAKE PART IN EXERCISE RED FLAG
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."