Markham welcomes two new British F-35s, increasing RAF fleet to 30

The operational fight fleet of F-35s within the Royal Air Power has lately expanded to 30, due to the addition of two new British F-35s that landed at RAF Markham final week. At the moment, the documented variety of F-35 fighters in London’s possession stands at 34. Nonetheless, attributable to one unlucky crash and 4 being dedicated to testing within the US, the precise operational rely totals 30. In accordance with the plans, Britain is on observe to own a fleet of 47 of those fighters by the top of 2025.  

Photograph credit score: British MoD

Info gathered from numerous sources reveals that the British F-35s, proper after touching down on the Norfolk, Virginia base, have been transitioned to the 207 Squadron operational conversion unit. Right here, they have been obtained by the diligent engineers of the squadron. After passing their upkeep checks, these two plane are set to quickly enhance the operational power of the UK’s F-35B Lightnings. But, what raises eyebrows is the delayed announcement of their arrival, which passed off on March sixteenth.

British F-35 in NATO train

South Korean F-35A
Photograph credit score: USAF

Simply final week, the F-35B Lightning fighters, a part of the UK Service Strike Group [CSG], flew again to their native soil after their involvement in NATO’s largest post-Chilly Battle train so far, STEADFAST DEFENDER. 

The state-of-the-art fighter jet made its strategy to RAF Marham from the deck of the HMS Prince of Wales, the main vessel of the CSG for this multinational drill. RAF Marham is proud to be often called the house base for the F-35B Lightning, a stealth multirole fighter of the fifth era.

The British “nuclear” F-35s

Authorization for nukes in the fuselages of Dutch F-35A jets
Photograph credit score: Reddit

The UK’s F-35 stealth fighter jets play a pivotal position within the nation’s nuclear protection technique. This assertion good points immense significance as current information showcases the profitable certification of the F-35 by the US as an official service of nuclear weapons. In mild of this, with the most recent updates from the USA, it’s value mentioning that London can also be channeling efforts to amplify its nuclear capabilities. 

In September of the previous yr, reported that, in line with a myriad of Western stories, the US Air Power is deep within the intricate means of restructuring its forward-based nuclear forces inside the boundaries of the UK. The 2024 funds justification bundle for the service highlights plans to determine a “guarantee dormitory” at RAF Lakenheath. 

Considerably, the time period “guarantee” is regularly encountered inside the halls of the Pentagon and the Division of Power. This time period symbolizes the important obligation of upholding the safety and security of nuclear weapons.

F-35 jet can destroy 300K in Moscow with a single B61-13 strike
Photograph credit score: USAF

The potential mission

The report forecasts the launch of the longer term mission, Surety, to coincide with the institution of two F-35 squadrons. This prediction contains the event of extra services, presumably meant to facilitate nuclear deployment. The proposed timeline for this strategic evolution spans from 2024 to 2026. 

Insightful notations discovered inside the MoD’s FY 2023 funds documentation for the NATO Safety Funding Programme explicitly state the UK’s participation. 

The doc proclaims, “NATO is concluding a big thirteen-year, $384 million infrastructure enhancement operation at storage websites in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Turkey.” The UK is referenced alongside different continental nations at present holding US nuclear weapons and taking part in nuclear weapon-sharing agreements.

The British F-35 is completely different

The British model of the F-35 fighter jet, formally acknowledged because the F-35B Lightning II, represents one variant of the F-35 plane collection with a distinctive attribute. This particular mannequin is the quick take-off and vertical touchdown [STOVL] iteration, intricately engineered to allow operations from compact runways and devoted plane carriers. 

UK boasted: 'This is an F-35B, fully loaded, maximum effort'
Photograph credit score: Twitter

The Royal Air Power and the Royal Navy of Britain make the most of the F-35B Lightning II, which contrasts distinctly with the unique mannequin, the F-35A. Probably the most important distinction is the STOVL performance of the F-35B, a tremendous characteristic facilitated by a distinctive carry system, inclusive of a carry fan, drive shaft, and help struts. This technique grants the plane the spectacular capability to take off from tight runways and execute vertical landings. 

One other variance within the British F-35B, in comparison with the usual F-35A, lies of their operational attain and payload-bearing talents. The F-35B’s vary undergoes a slight discount as a result of carry system’s further spatial necessities, limiting its payload dimension. Nonetheless, other than these variations, the British F-35B shares quite a few traits with the unique F-35A mannequin. Each being stealth plane, they’re masterfully designed to evade enemy radar. Additionally they boast superior avionics, utilizing parts such because the AN/APG-81 energetic electronically scanned array radar, and the high-end Electro-Optical Steering System [EOTS].

Reaching the FOC

British F-35 crashed due to one of the F135's air intake blank
Photograph credit score: UK MoD

In 2023, it had been anticipated that the UK would obtain full operational functionality [FOC] for its first two F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter squadrons. Nonetheless, primarily based on the most recent knowledge, 2025 now seems to be a extra doubtless timeline.  

This revised timeline grew to become evident in 2022, revealed in response to a printed parliamentary question listed on the Hansard portal, the official document repository for UK authorities proceedings and declarations.  

This viewpoint was additional confirmed when James Heapy, the UK’s Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, introduced on September 12 that the FOC of the UK’s F-35B is projected to be achieved in 2025. At this level, the Lightning Power will be capable to operationally deploy each squadrons concurrently.  

Norway: We don't have enough mechanics to support the 52 F-35s
Photograph by Monica White Martinsen / NRK

Notably, the UK’s F-35Bs usually are not completely new to the sector. These planes have already been examined in numerous situations, together with fight missions in Iraq and Syria in 2019. Nonetheless, full operational functionality goes past mere motion deployment. It’s a complete course of encompassing the required infrastructure, a competent workforce, and established techniques for efficient upkeep and operation.


Comply with us in every single place and at any time. has responsive design and you may open the web page from any laptop, cell units or net browsers. For extra up-to-date information, observe our Google News, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter and Fb pages. Our requirements: Manifesto & moral ideas.