RAF F-35B training for the first time with US and French fighter jets

Britain's new fleet of warplane F-35B Lightning jets have passed a significant milestone by conducting their first exercise with U.S. and French Air Force fighter jets, the Royal Air Force said Wednesday.

RAF F 35B training for the first time with US and French fighter jets 001 RAF F-35B training over East Anglia and the North Sea with US Air Force F-15 and French Air Force Rafale fighter jets
(Credit: Royal Air Force)

The 617 Squadron jets joined over 40 other aircraft from the RAF, the United States Air Force (USAF) and the French Air Force on Exercise Point Blank, taking to the skies over East Anglia and the North Sea.

"The exercise was a first both for the F35s and the French Air Force, and gave an opportunity for the three air forces to work together in a peer to peer scenario," said an RAF spokesman.

The exercise also aimed to improve the operational capability within the established tri lateral framework of RAF, USAF, French Air Force cooperation.

Air Commodore Jez Attridge, the RAF's Joint Force Air Component Commander said: "The first point of an air force is to be able to defend the country so you have to recognise the threats out there."

The United States Air Force and French Air Force jets have been operating for the exercise, from the RAF base at Lakenheath, home of the U.S. Air Force's 48th Fighter Wing. The RAF also deployed simulated air defense systems to test the pilots during the exercise.

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