A resurrected naval air squadron will be based at RAF Marham when the base’s new fighter planes go into service there, defence chiefs have revealed.
The Ministry of Defence announced on Thursday that the 809 Naval Air Squadron is to be reformed to operate the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) planes, which will fly from the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class carriers from 2018.
Earlier this year, the ministry announced 617 Dambusters Squadron will also be based at RAF Marham.
This historic naval squadron, which dates back to Word War II, selected by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, because of its history of striking at the enemy in operations across the globe.
In previous incarnations, aircraft from the squadron supported an attack on Hitler’s flagship, supported the invasions of North Africa, Italy and southern France during the war and also saw action in Suez in 1956.
It was last reformed to support operations in the Falkland Island and the squadron also flew the navy’s last Buccaneer, a low-level strike bomber, flown in the 1960s and 1970s.
Admiral Zambellas said: “The early naming of 809 alongside the RAF’s 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron is a very visible demonstration of a joint ambition, spirit of collaboration and shared equity in the Joint Lightning Force.”
Officials say the move will bring up to 200 extra service personnel to the base and the announcement was warmly welcomed by local politicians.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: ‘This is excellent news for Marham and a real boost to the local area. Obviously more personnel on site will create increased use of the surrounding facilities.”