US F-35BS ARRIVE FOR WORK-UP WITH HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH
Ten United States F-35B fighter jets have arrived in the UK ahead of joining HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The aircraft from V Marine Fighter Attack (VMFA) 211 Squadron landed at RAF Marham in Norfolk from their base in Yuma, Arizona.
The squadron will conduct synthetic training in the purpose-built simulators at RAF Marham to familiarise themselves with the local airspace and procedures before they take to the Norfolk skies to fly training sorties alongside 617 Squadron.
They will also be participating in Exercise Point Blank with their colleagues from RAF Lakenheath along with other NATO partners.
Once onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth both squadrons will conduct carrier qualification training to ensure all pilots are proficient to operate from the carrier during both day and night.
Training will also include live and inert weapons training ahead of Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) next year which will see the carrier deploy operationally for the first time.
With the training complete the aircraft will then conduct Exercise Joint Warrior from HMS Queen Elizabeth which will bring together multiple units to train collaboratively in preparation for CSG21.
On completion of Exercise Joint Warrior both 211 and 617 Squadrons will return to RAF Marham where they will then prepare to take part in a further exercise, Crimson Warrior which will allow the F-35’s to conduct high end training, alongside other aircraft, in a contested and degraded environment with this year’s focus being on multi-domain operations.
RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Jim Beck said: “It’s fantastic to welcome VMA-211 Squadron to RAF Marham for the first time and we are looking forward to working with them over the coming weeks to prepare for their deployment to HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“We are planning to undertake a qualification period and then participation in two exercises. These exercises will really put our personnel to the test to ensure that they are ready to deploy on Carrier Strike Group 21 next year and will be the opportunity to showcase the capabilities of the F-35 working alongside our NATO partners.”