The RAF’s F35s jets have been declared “combat ready” and will soon be sent to RAF Akrotiri, Sky news has reported.
It said that the deployment of the new fighter jets coincides with the retirement of the Tornado aircraft.
Sky News said that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had visited the home base of the new fighter jets at RAF Marham in Norfolk and announced that they were ready for operations.
“I won’t go into specifics (on) where they’re going to be deployed (but) this is a fighting aircraft that is there to be used and to keep Britain safe,” he said..
“Just in the last 19 days we’ve seen 10 strikes against Daesh (IS). We cannot be complacent, we cannot sit back, we cannot take it for granted that Daesh would be defeated.”
“Our nation is moving into a new era outside the EU, and our huge achievements in air capability make our commitment to a role on the world stage clear to both our allies and our enemies.”
But Sky News said its understanding was that is being drawn up for the jets to be sent to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus this spring.
If initial operations run smoothly, it is possible that they could be used on strike missions against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria by the summer, it added.
The design and manufacture of the F35 has been the most expensive weapons programme in history. The UK currently owns nine F35s but has committed to ordering 138 over the next 30 years.
They will be flown jointly by the RAF and Royal Navy and are capable of landing on the UK’s new aircraft carriers.