The RAF's new fighter jet has visited Leeds Bradford Airport in one of its first flights

A new stealth fighter aircraft that has only been in operation since the turn of 2019 visited Leeds today.

By Grace Newton
Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 12:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 12:28 pm
The F-35 over Leeds Bradford's runway
The F-35 over Leeds Bradford's runway

The Lockheed Martin F-35 is one of nine delivered to the RAF in 2016, but was only declared combat-ready this month.

The jets are currently performing training flights and exercises across the UK.

The military aircraft that visited Leeds Bradford Airport in summer 2018 in picturesIt is the first time one of the F-35s - which have also been used by the American military since 2015 - has passed over Leeds Bradford Airport. and aviation enthusiasts watching its arrival also believed it could be the single-seater fighter's first visit to a civilian airport on British soil.

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The F-35 over Leeds Bradford's runway

A total of 15 F-35s have been supplied to the RAF, but six have remained in the US for further testing and training. The nine already in the UK are being flown by 617 Squadron - better known as the WW2-era 'Dambusters' unit - who are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

In future, the aircraft will be operated by 207 Squadron, who were based at Linton-on-Ouse near York until 2012, when they disbanded. They are due to reform in July 2019, when they will become the Operational Conversion Unit for the F-35 Lightning force, again based at RAF Marham.

By 2023, the RAF will have taken delivery of 42 of the aircraft, 18 of which will be used for training, and a total of 138 will eventually be in service.

Freelance photographer Andrew Easby was on hand to capture the flypast on Tuesday morning.

The jet flew past the airport this morning

Military aircraft - including those belonging to overseas air forces - often use Leeds Bradford for training exercises.

There are only nine F-35s currently in the UK