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Lightning II Impresses RAF Pilot as Training Continues in USA

UK Ministry of Defence // November 29, 2013

As training with the new F-35B Lightning II stealth aircraft continues in Florida, USA, a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot has described how impressed he is with the ‘game-changing’ jet.

Photograph: Staff Sergeant Nicholas Egebrecht, U.S. Air Force | Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols, Royal Air Force

Article By: Gavin Brown


Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols completed his first sortie in the next-generation stealth fighter at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, United States earlier this month.

The Lightning II aircraft, together with the Typhoon FGR4, will provide the RAF combat air component essential to UK defence.

Flt Lt Nichols,the first RAF Number 1 Group pilot to fly the aircraft, said: “This is a notable step in the Lightning II story and one that marks a real shift in emphasis from development to employment.

“We’re also just starting to train the first No. 1 Group engineers here at Eglin, which is another important milestone in the development of the UK aspect of the programme.

“Lightning II’s advanced mission system sensors have done nothing but impress me so far and I have no doubt that this aircraft will deliver strategic, game-changing capabilities in future defence scenarios.

“To be the first No. 1 Group operational pilot is both an honour and a privilege and I look forward to helping stand up No. 617 (The Dambusters) Sqn in 2016 and bringing the jet back to the UK in 2018.”

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