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RAF Marham: Tornado and F35

Volume 654: debated on Monday 18 February 2019

8. What plans he has to visit RAF Marham to discuss the reduction in the size of the Tornado fleet and the introduction of the F-35; and if will he make a statement. (909272)

I visited RAF Marham on 10 January. It has been the home of our Tornado force and is now the home of our F-35 Lightnings. It is obviously with a heavy heart but enormous pride that we bid farewell to our Tornados—it is truly the end of an era—but it is right that we now look to the future. The combination of our state-of-the-art F-35s and Typhoons will keep us a world leader in combat air.

I thank the Secretary of State for paying tribute to the Tornado squadrons at RAF Marham. They have been at the forefront of every operation for the last 40 years and are about to start—this week, I think—their farewell flypast. Will he pay special tribute to the pilots and navigators who have shown supreme courage backed up always by their ground crew and their families at home in west Norfolk and elsewhere?

It is a whole community that delivers the Tornado’s fighting capability. In countless conflicts around the globe—be it the first Gulf war, the second Gulf war, or taking the fight to Daesh over the skies of Iraq and Syria—the Tornados have been at the forefront, and the pilots, navigators and ground crew have all been part of it. RAF Marham has an exciting future, however, with the two new F-35 squadrons and the additional training squadron.