The MOD have announced today that RAF Little Rissington is to reopen. Air Vice Marshal Chumondley said we are looking forward to reactivating RAF Little Rissington to full operational status with state of the art J35 strike fighters in 2020.
He said the aircraft would enter service with the RAF in 2019 and he went onto to say that the refurbished Officers Mess would make ideal temporary accommodation until new accommodations are constructed near Great Rissington. He also said the abandoned Village Hall would be requisitioned as a temporary office within the next few days to make arrangements for the reopening ceremony at Little Rissington.
The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy plan to operate 138 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft. Their training will take place at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, where British pilots and maintainers will be embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps and their fleet of F-35Bs. In February 2015, the RAF 17 Squadron, which is responsible for the operational test and evaluation of the UK’s first F-35s, was formally stood up at Edwards AFB, California.
The United Kingdom has played integral role on the Joint Strike Fighter since the program’s earliest days. Even before a final aircraft concept was chosen, British engineers and test pilots were making their mark on what would become a revolutionary capability. Under the desert sky at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., British test pilot left onlookers awestruck as he took the X-35B prototype out for its first flight on June 23, 2001.
A mere four months later, after witnessing the aircraft’s impressive performance, U.S. and U.K. defense officials announced Lockheed Martin’s concept would go on to become the Joint Strike Fighter. In the years since, the F-35 has continued to evolve. It’s advanced stealth, sensor fusion, exceptional maneuverability, unmatched interoperability, and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities will provide the U.K. with a tactical airpower advantage for decades to come.
The Lightning II will be the backbone of Britain’s future carrier operations. As the first supersonic short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter jet, the F-35B will provide vital 5th Generation carrier-strike capabilities to the Royal Navy’s two new carriers – the HMS Queen Elizabeth (christened July 4, 2014) and HMS Prince of Wales. These new Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers are designed specifically for integration with the F-35B aircraft, including a ski jump ramp for short takeoffs in place of the traditional catapult launch. The F-35B also has the ability to operate from land bases and remote locations, providing versatility that will revolutionize the U.K.’s expeditionary combat power.