These pictures show an inside look at six of Donald Trump’s fighter jets which have landed in Britain to boost NATO in the face of Russian aggression.
The F35 A-Lightning II supersonic stealth fighters are now stationed at Suffolk’s RAF Lakenheath base as they prepare to take part in training drills across Europe.
They US Air Force (USAF) jets, which cost up to £100m each, were unveiled yesterday (wed) before one took off from the airfield for the first time.
Colonel van Pettus, commander of 48th FW, said: “We are honoured to welcome F-35A to the UK for the first time.
“F-35 deployment will not only influence how we operate here at Lakenheath but also how our nations operate together.”
The warplanes can fly at speeds of 1200mph and can carry a devastating arsenal of weaponry including nuclear devices.
They will also allow advanced stealth pilots to go into areas without being detected by radars which can detect older fighters.
A US Air Force spokesman said: “The F-35A is a multi-role precision attack fighter with unmatched lethality, survivability and interoperability.”
General Tod Wolters, USAF in Europe and Africa commander, added: “This is an incredible opportunity for USAFE Airmen and our NATO allies to host this first overseas training deployment of the F-35A aircraft.
“As we and our joint F-35 partners bring this aircraft into our inventories, it’s important that we train together to integrate into a seamless team capable of defending the sovereignty of allied nations.
“RAF Lakenheath will be the first overseas beddown location for the F-35A.
“This deployment allows our pilots and maintainers to learn more about the European operating environment and will improve our interoperability with partners in the region.”
The F-35A jets landed in the UK on Saturday from the 388th Fighter Wing at the Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
Dozens of the jets are expected to make a permanent home in the UK from 2021 when the US sends two squadrons to the East Anglia air base.
As they touched down on the tarmac at the weekend, the US air force tweeted: “Next step for #F35 in #USAF! Great flying in UK!”
The F-35 joint strike fighter is a fifth-generation jet fighter with multiple combat roles.
It was developed jointly by several NATO countries and is 15.7m long with a 10.7m wingspan, powered by a single jet engine developing 43,000lb thrust.
The navy will use a vertical take-off version.
The Department of Defense said: “The aircraft are scheduled to conduct training with other US and NATO aircraft based in Europe for several weeks as part of the European Reassurance Initiative.
“This training deployment signifies an important milestone and natural progression of the F-35 program, allowing the Air Force to further demonstrate the operational capabilities of the fifth generation fighter aircraft.
“It also assists in refining requirements for eventually basing the F-35A in Europe, which is scheduled to receive the aircraft in the early 2020s.”
Putin’s Russia and the US have fought a bitter war of words in recent months as tensions between the former Cold War rivals reach boiling point.
Putin reacted with fury when Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airbase of Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad.
America said the base had been used to carry out a chemical attack on Syrian civilians.
The two nations have also clashed over Russia’s role in the annexation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists.