809 Naval Air Squadron joins the RAF’s 617 ‘Dambusters’ as the second, front-line stealth fighter formation, operating the F-35B Lightning following the re-commissioning of 809 NAS, known as the Phoenix Squadron, at RAF Marham.

“It is an honor and privilege to be afforded the opportunity to command 809 NAS and lead the workup to Full Operational Capability. The Squadron has a rich history of Royal Navy and RAF integration from the days of operating the Blackburn Buccaneer at RAF Lossiemouth in the 1960s and 1970s, to the Falklands Conflict in 1982 and this is set to endure well into the future. The latest re-incarnation of ‘Phoenix Squadron’ will see this joint service approach deliver a world-leading fifth-generation combat air capability, deployable from both land and sea.” said Commander Nick Smith.

This re-commissioning sees the number of UK squadrons operating the Lightning expand to four, two front-line, plus 207 Squadron (Operational Conversion Unit) and 17 Test and Evaluation Squadron. All are joint RAF and RN ventures, with the commanding officer and senior pilot alternating between the two Services.