New F-35B jets to be deployed to Cyprus
A new fleet of cutting-edge F-35B fighter jets is to be deployed from the UK to Cyprus later this year to take part in flight tests ahead of the planes becoming fully operational.
This will be their first overseas deployment and will see them heading to RAF Akrotiri to train and test logistics, maintenance and sustainment of all the equipment and crew.
The F-35B fighter jets are part of what has been dubbed 'Lightning Force' and are jointly owned by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.
As part of the Cypriot deployment, personnel from both services will be able to gain vital experience in maintaining and flying the aircraft in a new environment.
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: "These formidable fighters are a national statement of our intent to protect ourselves and our allies from intensifying threats across the world."
The F-35B, or Lightning, as it is commonly referred to in Britain, is the first aircraft to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds.
It can also conduct short take-offs and vertical landings with the ability to operate from land and sea via aircraft carriers.