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UK Royal Air Force F-35 aircraft patrol over Iraq and Syria.

| 2019

UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) officially told that F-35 aircraft had flown alongside Typhoon aircraft over the skies of Syria and Iraq. Nevertheless, those aircraft did not carry out any strikes.

UK Royal Air Force F 35 aircraft patrol over Iraq and Syria Two British F-35B fighter jets (Picture Source: UK MoD)

The MoD said that the stories follow a successful training period in Cyprus, known as Exercise Lightning Dawn, aimed at building capability for the aircraft and supporting elements.

“Due to the exceptional performance of the aircraft, pilots, and support staff during this time, it was decided that they were ready to make their operational debut from RAF Akrotiri, alongside the Typhoons.”

Lightning’s have been supporting Operation Shader, the fight against Islamic State, since June the 16th. The two aircraft conducted a patrol over Syria, and British F-35s have flown a further 12 sorties since then.

“The F-35s are the most advanced jets our country has ever possessed and will form the backbone of British air defence for decades to come,” Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said, speaking at RAF Akrotiri.

“They have passed every test their training has thrown at them with flying colours and their first real operational mission is a significant step into the future for the UK.”

Later in the year, 617 Squadron will embark on HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. The UK jets will conduct Operational Tests, alongside 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron, onboard the carrier in the USA during the WESTLANT 19 deployment, proving their capability at sea.

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