RAF Lakenheath Ceremony Marks £160m F-35 Project

Two Lightning squadrons will arrive at the Suffolk base in late 2021.

A project to get RAF Lakenheath ready for the arrival of two F-35 squadrons has been marked with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The Lightning squadrons will arrive at the Suffolk base in late 2021, with the airbase being the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe.

More than 1,000 personnel and their families will live there.

F-35A lands at RAF Lakenheath
The US Air Force's F-35s in Europe will be based in Suffolk (Picture: US Air Force).

Construction work for the £160 million-project at Lakenheath is being carried out by 700 contractors.

Colonel Will Marshall, Commander 48th Fighter Wing, said: "In the next few weeks, we will actually start putting concrete in the ground and building the first key facilities of this project." 

The Royal Air Force has nine F-35Bs stationed nearby at RAF Marham.

Demolition work began at the RAF base in March, with a total of 18 buildings being brought down to make way for construction of a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities.

Watch: What changes are being made to RAF Lakenheath?

Last November, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded a contract worth £160 million to Kier-VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver infrastructure to ready RAF Lakenheath for the aircraft in two years time.