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Iconic Dambusters Squadron Makes Historic Transition

Forces Network // April 18, 2018

617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force has been formally stood up as the RAF's first F35B Lightning II squadron.

The announcement was made during a special event in Washington DC, part of the celebrations for the Royal Air Force in its centenary year.

In the heart of the US capital, history was made as 617 Squadron formally stood up as an operational squadron, the first F35 squadron in the Royal Air Force.

With the support of the Queens Colour Squadron and the Central Band of the RAF, the ceremony was held in front of British and American guests from across both air forces.

General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff for the US Air Force said:

“The Dambusters will be flying the F35 Lightning, a fifth-generation air fighter ready to deter and win. We will take it to the skies together again."

Whilst Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier added:

“The US Marine Corps have provided outstanding support to us, for which we are exceptionally grateful, ensuring that transatlantic link remains as strong as ever.”

The UK has taken delivery of 15 of the F35B models so far.

But it's not been without its controversy; there have been debates about the cost and numbers of the jets, but it is an example of the special relationship in practice.

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