Britain’s cutting-edge F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jets are expected to touch down in the UK in June and will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the imminent arrival of the multimillion-pound supersonic warplanes during an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the daring Dambusters raid.
The Lancasters flown by 617 Squadron used Barnes Wallis’s revolutionary bouncing bombs to target and disable Hitler’s industrial heartland during their night-time mission on May 16/17 1943.
More than seven decades later, the squadron was recently stood back up for the supersonic jets at the Norfolk airfield near King’s Lynn.
Announcing the arrival of the jets on Wednesday while at RAF Coningsby, the Defence Secretary said: “Seventy-five years ago the Dambusters pushed the boundaries of what was possible.”
Four of the aircraft are due to fly across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States next month and will do so with between 12 and 15 air-to-air refuelling serials per jet.
They are due to arrive two months ahead of schedule, which the Ministry of Defence said allows for extra training time for 617 Squadron before declaring initial operational service from land later this year.
The commanding officer of 617 Squadron, Wing Commander John Butcher, said: “I have the great privilege of leading a jointly manned squadron made up of the best engineers, mission support personnel and pilots from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
“The original Dambuster squadron did not know what their mission was going to be until the last moment, yet they had to make sure they were ready, and that is as true for us today.