When a quartet of US Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs landed at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk on December 15, 2021, several things got rolling at the huge base.
First and foremost, the four fifth-generation stealth fighters were on delivery to the resident 48th Fighter Wing for assignment to the 495th Fighter Squadron and they are the first in the US Air Force to be assigned on permanent duty at an overseas base.
The 495th Fighter Squadron was re-activated at RAF Lakenheath on October 1, 2021 - the first day of the 2022 Financial Year for the US Department of Defense. The squadron’s numberplate is no stranger to Lakenheath. Until its deactivation on December 13, 1991, it was assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, one of four squadrons operating the F-111F Aardvark.
According to the 48th Fighter Wing, the 495th Fighter Squadron is scheduled to be fully mission capable during 2022 with a total of 27 aircraft and 60 personnel assigned.