#SP231 F-35B Lightning, RAF Marham
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. SP231 - Royal Air Force Marham. Royal Air Force Marham is home to the UK's Lightning Force and serves under the command of No. 1 Group within Air Command and currently comprises two F-35B squadrons, Force Protection Headquarters and associated engineering, operations and base support functions as well as lodger units. No. 617 (The Dambusters) Squadron was the RAF's first F-35B squadron, reforming in April 2018, having trained on the type at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. 617 Squadron was formed in 1943 for the specific task of attacking three major dams which provided water and power to one of Germany's major industrial regions. Under the codename Operation CHASTISE, the Squadron's specially-modified Avro Lancaster B MkIIIs delivered Barnes Wallis' "bouncing bomb" to its intended targets on the night of 16 May 1943, breaching two out of the three dams and causing catastrophic flooding to the Ruhr valley. The first 617 Squadron F-35B arrived at RAF Marham on 6 June 2018 and the Squadron was declared combat ready on 10 January 2019. Jointly manned by both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel, the Squadron undertook its first overseas deployment when six F-35Bs flew to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus in May 2019 to take part in Exercise Lightning Dawn. The exercise, designed to test the crew's ability to operate from an unfamiliar environment, has also seen the UK's first F-35B operational armed reconnaissance missions carried out over Iraq and Syria under Operation SHADER, the UK's contribution to the ongoing fight against Islamic State group. The second of RAF Marham's F-35B squadrons is No. 207 Squadron, the UK's F-35B Lightning Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), arriving at Marham in July 2019. Beginning life as No. 7 Squadron RNAS in December 1916, upon formation of the RAF on 1 April 1918, the squadron became No. 207 Squadron RAF, flying the Handley Page O/400 bomber. A third F-35B Lightning unit, No. 809 Naval Air Squadron, is also due to reform at RAF Marham in 2023. No. 3 Force Protection Wing deploys to provide Force Protection to personnel, equipment and infrastructure in operational theatres. The Wing also provides a Marham-based headquarters to No. 2620 (County of Norfolk) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment Squadron. No. 6 Royal Air Force Police Squadron is responsible for all policing and security at Marham and is also required to contribute personnel to Royal Air Force Police Teams that are deployed around the globe. The Station is also home to No. 93 (Expeditionary Armament) Squadron, an Air Combat Service Support Unit providing expeditionary armaments support to deployed operations. The squadron's main roles are to provide the specialist armaments, safety planning of potential operating locations and the subsequent establishment and management of deployed explosive storage areas. The Station, home to the Panavia Tornado for almost four decades, has recently undergone extensive infrastructure upgrades in preparation for the F-35B Lightning era and ensures that RAF Marham will continue to be at the spearhead of UK airpower for years to come.