United Kingdom

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United Kingdom

A Legacy of Innovation

In 2024, the United Kingdom Government reaffirmed its commitment to its program of record of 138 F-35 aircraft to be operated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. The UK’s first F-35Bs, arrived at RAF Marham in June 2018 to form 617 Sqn ‘Dambusters’, while 207 Squadron, the UK’s Operational Conversion Unit, was stood up in the same location in 2019. Most recently 809 Naval Air Squadron ‘The Immortals’ was re-established at Marham in December 2023.

The UK’s 35th F-35 arrived in the UK in March 2024, the same month that ‘Dambusters’ F-35B’s took part in Steadfast Defender - NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War – demonstrating the jet’s interoperability with NATO allies and capability delivered from the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales. This interoperability has been clearly demonstrated by RAF pilots training at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, where British pilots and maintainers were embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps and their fleet of F-35Bs, and later at RAF Marham where further training and sustainment is delivered.

Aircraft Variant
Program of Record
Jobs Created

The Fingerprints of British ingenuity are across the F-35 program. The program supports 100+ Tier 1 suppliers and has created 20,000+ jobs. 

Base Location

Program Milestones 

2012: UK First
F-35 Delivered 
2018: UK MoD declares
F-35 land IOC 
2020: Royal Navy declares Maritime IOC
2014: F-35 Pilot Completes First UK Vertical Landing 
2018: First of Class Flight Trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth
2021: F-35s participate in Carrier Strike Group 2021 
2018: F-35s arrive for permanent basing at RAF Marham
2020: First Aircraft Arrival on
2024: F-35s participate in Steadfast Defender