F-35B Touches Down in the UK
In what can only be called a once in a lifetime moment, the United Kingdom’s BK-3 and two USMC F-35Bs landed for the first time on British soil marking a significant milestone for the UK F-35 program 15 years in the making. The three F-35Bs launched from MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, early Wednesday morning and touched down just after 8 p.m. After a day of constant rain and cold temperatures, immediately after the jets landed and taxied to the front of the hangar, the sun came out and a very full and bright double rainbow appeared directly over the jets.
The flight was led by the UK's Sqn Ldr Hugh Nichols with USMC Lt Col Richard Rusnok and Maj. Jack Cronan alongside. UK Air Chief Sir Andy Pulford met the pilots upon arrival to the country.
“It's important to get it here to show it to the British public, this is their aircraft,” commented Pulford. “This is going to be their combat air future.” He was joined by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones.
For the next three weeks the F-35Bs have a full, action packed schedule headlining both the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Shows to exhibit the future air power that will protect the country for decades to come.
The U.K. plans to purchase a total of 138 F-35Bs.