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Valkyries F-35A Lightning II Displays Its Might Over Europe, Skies Are Friendly There

Back in December of last year, the first example of an F-35A Lightning II, American-made aircraft, was delivered to the RAF Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom, “after a force posture adjustment that has been six years in the making.”
F-35A Lightning II with the 495th Fighter Squadron 14 photos
F-35A Lightning II with the 495th Fighter SquadronF-35A Lightning II at Thunder and Lightning Over ArizonaF-35A Lightning II on vertical ascentF-35 Lightning buzzing the CN TowerF-35A Lighting IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 LightningF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 Lightning cruising subsonic into the sunsetF-35A Lightning II demo team schedule
That month, the British location became home to the first U.S. Air Force (USAF) unit in Europe to receive the fifth-generation aircraft, and the fighter was deployed in service with the 495th Fighter Squadron.

Enough time has passed since that time for the pilots flying it, who like to call themselves Valkyries as a unit, to take the thing out for a spin on more than one occasion. And now we get to officially see the F-35 doing its thing in the skies over Europe.

The photo we have here shows the F-35 on a routine training mission “in support of our host nation partnership,“ at the beginning of February, right over the base. It’s a sight Americans are used to by now, but not something the Europeans get to see that much of – unlike in the case of a number of allied nations already using the F-35, this one is fielded by an American military unit stationed there.

RAF Lakenheath was chosen back in 2015 as the place where the first USAF F-35A squadrons will be deployed, based on “very close ties with the RAF, existing infrastructure, and combined training opportunities. “

"Our coalition forces train and fight in the most dynamic theatre, requiring the most advanced platforms,” said at the time when the first airplane was delivered General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.

“The Valkyries are leading our F-35 integration across Europe. We’ve come a long way, and now we’re extending our reach as a coalition force and what we will accomplish together."

Editor's note: Gallery also shows other F-35s.

 
 
 
 
 

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