ROYAL Navy aviators have touched down in Cyprus for six weeks of intensive training with Britain’s most advanced jet.
Several F-35B Lightning stealth jets – the main weapon of the nation’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – will be pushed to their limits during Exercise Lightning Dawn.
It’s the first time British Lightnings have been taken overseas after arriving in the UK last summer. Since then the jets – under the banner of legendary RAF 617 Squadron, but flown and maintained jointly by Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm personnel – have been gradually honing individual and collective combat skills.
The training will see the jets unleashing some of their firepower during live-fire exercises, while pilots develop their individual and squadron tactics.
Once the exercise is completed, the F-35s will return to their base in Marham before flying to the USA on their autumn deployment.