The ‘Dambusters’ will be the first British unit to receive the F-35B

The ‘Dambusters’ will be the first British unit to receive the F-35B

The Royal Air Force has announced that 617 Squadron, the famous ‘Dambusters’, will be the first operational squadron using F-35B Lightning II aircraft. According to Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the 617 Squadron is to disband on 1st April next year, as part of the planned drawdown of the Tornado GR4 force. It will then reform in 2016, taking delivery of the highly advanced Lightning II.

Dalton made the announcement at a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) conference on Air Power this week. Later this year 617 Squadron will deploy to Afghanistan for the last time as a Tornado GR4 Squadron to support NATO and Afghan troops.

Dalton added that the Lightning II shall be operated jointly by the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm pilots, from land or from the Queen Elizabeth Class carrier. Overall, a hugely flexible and futuristic joint capability. When it reforms in 2016, 617 Squadron will have both RAF and Royal Navy personnel. The next squadron will carry a Royal Navy squadron number but be similarly jointly manned.

“The Lightning’s state of the art stealth and precision target capabilities, together with the battle-proven Typhoon force, will complement each others’ capabilities and set the base-line for UK Combat ISTAR2 air power as a contemporary global force for the 2020s and beyond.” Dalton added. The UK’s Lightning II is the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, which will give the supersonic multi-role stealth aircraft the ability to operate from land or sea.

The reformed unit will be staffed by RAF and Royal Navy (RN) personnel, the CAS said, adding that the next operational F-35B unit to follow 617 Squadron will have an RN number but will also be jointly manned.

617 Squadron is probably the most famous squadron in the RAF. It was created in 1943 to carry out attacks with a level of accuracy then unprecedented. It gained its epithet “The Dambusters” after its first raid, for which it was initially formed, to destroy dams in the Ruhr valley in Nazi Germany. The Squadron has twice been disbanded and reformed as it has moved from operating the Lancaster to the Vulcan to the Tornado, in a process that is usual for all RAF squadrons.

Source: Military Technology & Defense News (defense-update.com) - 20 July 2013

Photo: The UK Air Force 617 Squadron is set to be the UK's inaugural F-35 unit, when it receives its first aircraft in 2016. The United Kingdom plans to declare IOC for the F-35B Fighter Aircraft in 2018.
(Photo by US Air Force)



American Air Force News
African Air Force News
Asian Air Force News
European Air Force News
Middle Eastern AF News
Ocean Air Force News

• Eurofighter fleet passes 500,000 flying hours

The Eurofighter fleet is celebrating after passing the 500,000 flying hours mark, as it cements its place at the heart of European air defence....>>

• Greece holds joint air force exercise with Israel

The Air Forces of Greece and Israel held a joint twelve-day exercise based at the 110 Combat Wing of the Larissa Air Base until November 2, as part of the defense cooperation progr...>>

• British planes scramble to intercept suspected Russian jets

British jets were scrambled to investigate suspected Russian fighter aircraft flying near United Kingdom airspace on Wednesday. ...>>

• Greece to Host NATO Aviation Training Center in Peloponnese

NATO aviation training center will be set up in city of Kalamata, located in the Peloponnese region of Greece, Panos Kammenos, the Greek defense minister, said at a meeting of the ...>>

• General Dynamics to Deliver New EAGLE 4x4 Armored Patrol Vehicles to Denmark

General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) has been awarded a supply contract for the Danish Army’s new 4x4 Armored Patrol Vehicle program (APV). After a competitive tendering ...>>

• Russia to Give Serbia Transport Aircraft Alongside MiG Jets

In the framework of military aid to Serbia Russia will deliver fighter jets as well as transport aircraft, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin told Sputnik on Sunday....>>

• Turkey at 'final stage' with Russia over S-400 system

Turkey's talks with Russia about the purchase of the S-400 air missile defence system have reached a "final stage", although this does not mean a deal will be signed immediately, T...>>


       info@xairforces.net Webmaster: REFLX DESIGN - © 2011 xairforces / Aviation Society,