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Well I'll be blowed…. 207 Squadron returns

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Well I'll be blowed…. 207 Squadron returns

Old 5th Jul 2017, 14:10
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Well I'll be blowed…. 207 Squadron returns

IDENTITY OF F-35 LIGHTNING TRAINING SQUADRON ANNOUNCED

The squadron which will train future Royal Air Force and Royal Navy F-35B Lightning pilots at RAF Marham has been announced as 207 Squadron.

The announcement was made during a visit to RAF Marham by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, to view the progress being made to prepare for the arrival of the fifth generation fighter at the Norfolk base next summer.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:

“I am very pleased to announce that the Operational Conversion Unit for the UK’s F-35B Lightning fleet will be 207 Squadron. The squadron has a proud and distinguished history, not only as an RAF squadron but as one of the earliest squadrons of the Royal Naval Air Service which, with the Royal Flying Corps, came together to form the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918.

“Preparations for the arrival of the first UK Lightnings next year are progressing well. The investment of £250m in infrastructure here at RAF Marham will ensure the station has the facilities to match this world-class aircraft when it arrives next year. As the home of the UK Lightning Force the station will be at the heart of UK airpower for decades to come.”

Admiral Sir Philip Jones First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff said:

“207 Squadron will play an important part in the future of both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, and rightly reflects our shared aviation heritage. I was in the United States earlier this month to meet some of the pilots and maintainers who are getting to grips with the F-35B. They’re working brilliantly together and today I’ve seen the same sense of purpose from those readying RAF Marham for their arrival.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first carrier in the world designed from the outset to operate a fifth generation combat aircraft. Crucially, a second ship - HMS Prince of Wales - is on its way, which will give the UK a continuous Carrier Strike capability. I have every expectation that, in time, this combination of carriers and jets will represent a powerful and important strategic conventional deterrent.”

The new infrastructure currently being built at RAF Marham includes vertical landing pads, the renewal of runways and taxiways and new technical and training facilities, offices and hangars.

The first Lightnings will arrive at RAF Marham in summer next year when the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots currently training in the United States, will return as 617 Squadron, the Dambusters. The Lightning OCU will stand up as 207 Squadron on 1 July 2019.

ENDS



Notes to editors:

The fifth generation F-35 Lightning jets are the most advanced aircraft ever built for the UK and will be operated initially by 617 ‘The Dambusters’ Squadron, Royal Air Force, followed by 809 Naval Air Squadron, in 2023. Combined, they will transform the UK’s ability to project UK influence overseas. Initial flight trials for F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth Class are on track to begin in 2018, building towards delivering a Carrier Strike capability for the UK from 2020.

Overall, the F-35 Lightning programme continues to make good progress and to date 10 aircraft have been delivered. The UK programme remains on track to deliver Initial Operating Capability in December 2018 with 48 F-35Bs fully delivered by Jan 25. The UK is fully committed to the F-35 programme. The current planning assumption is that the UK will buy 138 F-35B Lightning aircraft over the life of the programme.
UK industry will provide approximately 15% by value of every F-35 Lightning to be built. There are a huge variety of UK companies involved in the programme situated across the country.

SDSR15 announced an uplift of an additional F-35B Lightning squadron as part of the wider growth of the RAF combat jet fleet. It was considered appropriate for the Operational Conversion Unit, which will train Lightning pilots from both services, to have a numberplate with a joint RAF/RN history. The Royal Air Force formed in 1918 from the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. The Navy squadrons’ lineage was retained by allocating them squadron numberplates in the ‘200’ range. Accordingly 207 Sqn, which has a rich RN history as 7 RNAS, and an equally rich RAF history subsequently, has been chosen.
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 14:12
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With their mixed RAF/RN crews can we hope for 201 and 206 as the P-8A squadrons, then? With 203 as the training squadron…..?
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 14:17
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AFAIK, the only joint RN/RAF Squadron in the past has been 360 with, briefly, 361........Hat, coat
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 15:58
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207 was proposed as the numberplate for what became 360, but the RN rejected the choice.
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 18:29
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Another Bomber sqn numberplate for a fighter sqn...

Wasn't 207 Sqn a Tucano sqn at some point recently?
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 18:52
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If so, that would have been after its time as a Comms Squadron, Northolt based with Dets at other locations.
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 18:58
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They also had a badge change:

207 Squadron Royal Air Force History - Semper Paratus
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 20:17
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Why not a much lower number?
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 20:24
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Originally Posted by sharpend View Post
Why not a much lower number?
207, despite its status as a reserve squadron in recent years, is still fairly senior.

The rumour is that more senior available numberplates such as 20, 23 and 25 were rejected out of hand by the RN as being inappropriate for a joint squadron because there was no RN heritage to them, although it's not entirely clear why 208 was overlooked if a former RNAS unit and a naval connection (which 208 of course had with the Bucc and the ASuw role) was desired.
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 21:07
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As one of the founding squadrons of the RAF from 1918 I am not sure how you can get anymore senior. Formed 31/12/1916 as number 7 (Naval) squadron. You could go for a lower number but of course all the really low numbers up to about 144 are ex-army.
Still if you chuck some water about the landscape and have a really high number you are good to go forever. Well almost, only 5 years disbanded since 1943!!!!
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 21:21
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Originally Posted by Deliverance View Post
Agreed, and why not a fighter squadron numberplate?
Because it is a bomber?

As a conversion unit precedes an operational unit maybe 12 and 208 will still feature.
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 21:49
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Originally Posted by ericferret View Post
As one of the founding squadrons of the RAF from 1918 I am not sure how you can get anymore senior. Formed 31/12/1916 as number 7 (Naval) squadron. You could go for a lower number but of course all the really low numbers up to about 144 are ex-army.
Still if you chuck some water about the landscape and have a really high number you are good to go forever. Well almost, only 5 years disbanded since 1943!!!!
The AHB can explain at some length...

Seniority is based upon accumulated service (and up until 1957 ish, upon some other factors), so the reduction in the size of the RAF in the aftermath of WW1 meant that a significant number of squadrons disappeared and didn't reform until the 1930s; those which survived the peace dividend 1919 style thus gained a considerable advantage. Service as an RFC or RNAS numberplate counts towards current seniority, not just the post-1918 period, though.

617 (and 120) were awarded their standards ahead of the 25 year accumulated service qualifying period at the behest of HM King George VI and this special seal of royal approval has invariably trumped seniority, as a number of the files in the National Archives demonstrate, most of which contain phrases along the lines of 'under the rules, 617, as the most junior numberplate would disband, but because of its special status [referring to the early standard award], this is inappropriate and [insert number of next most junior squadron] will disband instead'
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 22:26
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Originally Posted by The B Word View Post
Another Bomber sqn numberplate for a fighter sqn...
The F-35 isn't a fighter, regardless of the 'F' prefix...

-RP
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Old 5th Jul 2017, 22:31
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Just like the F-111 and the F-117. Isn't it all wrapped up in the politics of US Defence appropriation?
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Old 6th Jul 2017, 02:06
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Originally Posted by Deliverance View Post
It most certainly is a fighter, in the same vein as the F-16 is it a bomber. It is not single role like the F-117 or F-111.
My my, aren't we touchy! Did you miss the winking smiley face (indicating, or so I thought, a tongue in cheek remark), or just choose to ignore it?

Originally Posted by Deliverance View Post
Seems to look like the heirachy think like RP et al.
Any chance we can have that again in English, please?

-RP
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Old 6th Jul 2017, 05:43
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Lightning II is seen as an A-G platform first and a A-A platform second. It has to be that way to avoid the charge of 'self-licking lollipop' being levelled at the carrier air wing: remember that the concept was called 'Carrier Strike'. And look at the fact that we are working closely with the USMC on it, and they are certainly not into A-A for its own sake. That, and the fact that it barely outperforms the GR4 ;-)

Last edited by Easy Street; 6th Jul 2017 at 05:55.
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Old 6th Jul 2017, 06:47
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Typhoon drops bombs. Its earlier namesake was a fighter but turned out to be a better bomber. And that was true of a fair number of fighters


There is a lot of fudge between a pure bomber and a pure fighter. Of the latter there are fewer pure fighters. Even the Lightning and Foxbat could act as bombers, but the Javelin was a pure fighter.
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Old 6th Jul 2017, 08:48
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Its nice to see a former Valiant squadron fly again.

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Old 6th Jul 2017, 10:13
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617 and 809 are also squadrons with 'bomber' history. I would suspect any future RAF Lightning squadrons may take on the numberplates of the current GR4 squadrons. Another FAA squadron is a more interesting option, as 809 was a bit left field (Most were expecting 800 or 801)
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Old 6th Jul 2017, 11:23
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Maybe 809 was chosen as its badge is Phoenix rising from the Ashes!!!
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