Four F-35 fighter jets have just returned to the UK after a two-month exercise in Cyprus, where they also flew reconnaissance missions over Iraq and Syria.
The first overseas flight for six Lightning Force’s F35 stealth fighters took place in the eastern Mediterranean where they touched down in Akrotiri earlier this summer. There are currently 17 fighter jets of the F35B type in the UK, while the Royal Air Force is planning to increase that number to a total of 138.
Before leaving RAF Akrotiri, Wing Commander John Butcher described what it was like to fly the world's most advanced warplane.
"It's a pretty clean, clear cockpit... there are two rather large displays," the small unit commander of the 617 Squadron said.
"When you step into Lightning, it does really feel like you are stepping into the future,” he added.
Men and women of the Lightning Force will then head to their first spell of training aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth scheduled for this coming autumn in the United States.