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ROYAL Air Force F-35B Lightning jets have passed another significant milestone by conducting their first exercise with UK based American F-15s and French Air Force Rafales, over the skies of East Anglia and the North Sea.

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The 617 Squadron jets joined over forty other aircraft from the RAF, the United States Air Force and the French Air Force on Exercise PointBlank. This exercise was a first both for the F35s and the French Air Force and gave an opportunity for the three air forces to work together in a peer to peer scenario.

Two Royal Air Force F35 aircraft from 617 Squadron, RAF Marham are seen here refuelling from a Royal Air Force Voyager aircraft.

For the pilots of the F-35s the exercise gave an opportunity to continue to develop procedures to integrate 4th and 5th generation fighter aircraft. The exercise also aimed to improve the operational capability within the established tri lateral framework of RAF, USAF, French Air Force cooperation.

Explaining the significance of the exercise Air Commodore Jez Attridge the RAF Joint Force Air Component Commander said:

“The first point of an air force is to be able to defend the country so you have to recognise the threats out there.

Air Commodore Jez Attridge
RAF Air Commodore Jez Attridge (right), USAF Major General John Wood (centre) and FAF, Lieutenant General De Rancourt (left) standing in front of the three nations air craft, a UK F-35B, a US F-15 and a French Rafale.
Two RAF F-35B Lightning break away together over the North Sea.

| British Armed Forces Daily News

© Crown Copyright 2018
Photographer: SAC Will Drummee

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