On 01 February 2022, a Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning aircraft from RAF Marham joined a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer and F-15 Eagle aircraft for multiple flypasts in the United Kingdom to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Eighth Air Force. The Royal Air Force’s F35 fifth-generation fighter jet joined the B-1B strategic bombers, which had flown directly from the US, and F-15s for the flypasts of both RAF Lakenheath and RAF Duxford. The location was once home to an Eighth Air Force P-51 unit and now hosts the largest air museum in Europe.
Originally stood up on 1st February 1942 at Langley Field, Virginia, VIII Bomber Command moved to England a short while later, first to RAF Daws Hill and later to RAF High Wycombe, the RAF’s Bomber Command, where it established its wartime headquarters in the Wycombe Abbey School. The Eighth Air Force was a US Army Air Force Combat, Air Force, focused on the European Theatre, that carried out the strategic bombing of targets in France, the Low Countries, and Germany.
Eighth Air Force earned the name “The Mighty Eighth” due to its size and strength during WWII. By mid-1944, the unit had more than 200,000 members. At its peak, the Mighty Eighth could dispatch more than 1,000 four-engine bombers and varieties of fighter aircraft on a single mission if need be. On 22nd February 1944, the US reorganized its Air Forces in Europe by renaming Eighth Air Force the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe, which is today known as United States Air Forces in Europe.
The RAF works alongside the Bomber Task Force (BTF) throughout the year and has done for several years, providing opportunities to work and train with our allies. It traditionally involves exercising Quick Reaction Alert to escort BTF aircraft through UK airspace. BTFs demonstrate the US Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy and integrate with NATO allies and coalition partners. These exercises showcase interoperability between the RAF and USAFE and demonstrate how the RAF is a key enabler for the US Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy and integrate with NATO allies and coalition partners.