USA

US Air Force Announces New Nickname For RAF Lakenheath-Based F-35A Squadron

The 48th Fighter Wing had called on help from the public to name the unit with a final vote last December.

The US Air Force has announced a new nickname for the first American overseas-based F-35A squadron, set to be stationed at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The 48th Fighter Wing has decided 495th Fighter Squadron, formerly the 495th Tactical Fighter Squadron, will be known as the 'Valkyries' when it is reactivated later this year.

The wing had called on help from the public to name the unit with a final vote last December after 700 different suggestions were submitted.

In Norse mythology, Valkyries are female figures who choose those that will live or die in battle.

The east of England, where RAF Lakenheath is based, is an area with extensive Viking and Norse history.

Additionally, the 495th Fighter Squadron motto: "Mala Ipsa Nova" in Latin, means "Bad News Itself".  

A US F-35A Lightning II 170818 CREDIT US Department of Defense.jpg
A US F-35A Lightning II (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Lieutenant Colonel Ian McLaughlin, the incoming commander of 495th Fighter Squadron, said: "Valkyries epitomises the force's move toward more inclusivity and equally represents the fifth-generation stealth fighter's air superiority.

"I am honoured to be the first commander of the initial US Air Force overseas-based F-35A unit.

"Like the Valkyries themselves, we'll be vital to determining the fate of our adversaries in the battlespace."

The first F-35As are scheduled to arrive at RAF Lakenheath in late 2021.

The base was selected to host the first US F-35A squadrons in Europe because of its close ties with the RAF, existing infrastructure, and combined training opportunities.

There are three variants of the F-35 fighter jet, with the RAF and Royal Navy equipped with the F-35B. The UK currently owns 21.

Cover image: An F-35 Lightning II from 34th Fighter Squadron lands at RAF Lakenheath in April 2017 (Picture: US Department of Defense).