02:54 GMT +315 November 2019
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    The F-35 Lightning II

    Britain 'Combat Ready' With New Supersonic Jet Amid "Resurgent Russian Threat"

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    UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is visiting the home to the F-35B Lightning and Tornado jets since the 1970s in Norfolk, England to announce the readiness of F-35s to launch combat missions.

    The UK Royal Air Force has reportedly achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of F35-Lightning II — a stealthy, supersonic, multirole fighter jet — which will be the latest addition to the RAF's fleet.

    READ MORE: 'Russia Threat Central' as UK MPs Call for Cold War Level Military Spending

    The latest addition is expected to be announced by the defence secretary in time to counter what was described as a "resurgent Russian threat".

    Confirmed by Williamson back in November 2017, the F-35 programme was "set to bring an immense boost of £35 billion into the British economy", and it will be "welcome news to the UK firms that many more jets are now set for production." 

    Branded an affordable next generation fighter, the F-35, is set to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft currently in the inventories of the US Air Force, and allied defence forces.

    The so-called "Russia threat" narrative has been previously employed by the Ministry of Defence to boost the argument for increased funding demands.

    In May 2011, Gavin Williamson accused Russia of "aggressive actions" and called on the UK government to increase funding for Royal Navy's modernisation.

    READ MORE: UK Defence Secretary: More Funds for Royal Navy to Counter 'Russian Threat'

    The UK has pledged to spend $11.6 billion (£9.1 bn) programme and purchase 48 of the jets by 2025, reaching a total 138, jointly operated by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots.


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    F-35 fighter jet, British Royal Air Force, United Kingdom
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