Subscribe
F-35 Lightning IIs from the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., take part in air-to-air refueling operations on June 5, 2015. This summer, two Air Force F-35As from Luke will fly in heritage flights and be on static display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire  — considered the world's largest military air show — and the Farnborough International Airshow, outside of London.

F-35 Lightning IIs from the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., take part in air-to-air refueling operations on June 5, 2015. This summer, two Air Force F-35As from Luke will fly in heritage flights and be on static display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire — considered the world's largest military air show — and the Farnborough International Airshow, outside of London. (Staci Miller/U.S. Air Force)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The Pentagon’s most expensive fighter jet is scheduled to appear this summer at two major air shows in the United Kingdom, military officials announced this week.

The Air Force and the Marine Corps plan to send F-35 Lightning IIs to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire — considered the world’s largest military air show — and the Farnborough International Airshow, outside of London.

Two Air Force F-35A variants, from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., will fly in heritage flights and be on static display at both air shows. An Air Force heritage flight features modern fighter aircraft flying alongside vintage warplanes.

The F-35 was supposed to participate in the U.K. air shows two years ago, but the appearances were canceled at the last minute when the Defense Department grounded its F-35 fleet after one of them caught fire while preparing to take off at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

If all goes well this time around, it will be the first time the Air Force sends an F-35 to an overseas air show, officials said.

“We’re very excited about demonstrating this capability to the world” and highlighting the airmen “who support this cutting-edge fighter,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said in a statement. “The F-35 represents a new way of thinking about data integration, weapons and tactics.”

While the Air Force’s F-35A variants are conventional takeoff and landing planes, the Marine Corps’ F-35Bs are able to take off from short runways and land vertically.

The Air Force plans to eventually base F-35s in England: Officials announced last year that two F-35 squadrons of 24 aircraft each would be stood up in phases at RAF Lakenheath, beginning in 2020.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is scheduled for July 7-9. The Farnborough International Airshow is slated for July 11-17.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up