Announced in 2015, the long-anticipated arrival of the F-35
marks RAF Lakenheath as the first base in United States Air Forces in Europe to
receive the new fifth generation aircraft.
The Valkyries are leading our F-35 integration across Europe
"Our coalition forces train and fight in the most dynamic
theatre, requiring the most advanced platforms," said General Jeff Harrigian, Commander
Allied Air Command. "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."
The aircraft will belong to the 495th Fighter Squadron, which was nicknamed the "Valkyries" during a voting contest in 2020. The new F-35 squadron will consist of 24 aircraft, delivered in a phased approach.
F-35s from the 495th Fighter Squadron arrive at their new home, RAF Lakenheath. Photo courtesy of USAF.
RAF Lakenheath was selected in 2015 to host the first U.S. F-35A squadrons in Europe based on very close ties with the RAF, existing infrastructure, and combined training opportunities. The UK is a critical component in training and combat readiness due to its excellent airspace and F-35 program partnership.
This new F-35 squadron will join several other Allied nations that are currently operating the 5th generation fighters across Europe. The integration of these aircraft into Allied Air Forces provide multi-role air versatility and performance, enhanced situational awareness and increase efficiency and effectiveness of Allied air operations protecting sovereign territories and ensuring security of Alliance populations.