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RAF Lakenheath breaks ground on future F-35 infrastructure

Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, (center), poses for a photo with 48th Fighter Wing personnel and local civic leaders, partners and contractors during an F-35 Lightning II groundbreaking ceremony at RAF Lakenheath, U.K., July 15, 2019. The groundbreaking follows the ongoing construction projects that will facilitate two F-35A squadrons, making RAF Lakenheath the first permanent international site for U.S. fifth generation aircraft in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones)

Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, (center), poses for a photo with 48th Fighter Wing personnel and local civic leaders, partners and contractors during an F-35 Lightning II groundbreaking ceremony at RAF Lakenheath, U.K., July 15, 2019. The groundbreaking follows the ongoing construction projects that will facilitate two F-35A squadrons, making RAF Lakenheath the first permanent international site for U.S. fifth generation aircraft in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones)

RAF LAKENHEATH, United Kingdom (AFNS) --

Leaders of the 48th Fighter Wing in partnership with Defence Infrastructure Organisation and members of the local community, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new F-35 Lightning II infrastructure at RAF Lakenheath, July 15.

“Throughout the project we will be working closely with the local supply chain to deliver this crucial infrastructure, allowing RAF Lakenheath to become the first permanent home in Europe for the U.S. Air Force F-35 fighter jet,” said James Hindes, Kier managing director of aviation and defence.

Through the partnership with the DIO, as well as Kier and VolkerFitzpatrick construction groups, the installation will be ready to welcome the first F-35A Lightning II aircraft in late 2021. The infrastructure projects will include a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities to accommodate the new squadrons.

“This ceremony is an exciting milestone for the (48th FW) as we prepare this installation to welcome two squadrons of F-35A Lightning II aircraft and supporting personnel,” said Col. William Marshall, 48th FW commander. “Breaking ground on this project takes us one step closer to becoming a more lethal and ready force as U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s premier combat wing.”

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