The legendary RAF 'Dambusters' of WWII are now flying F-35s with US Marines

The above picture shows the airmen of the RAF’s 617 ‘Dambusters’ squadron kneeling in front of two F-35Bs with their World War II counterparts superimposed behind them. 

The black and white counterparts were on the forefront of military aviation technology in World War II, when the multi-national squadron of bombers needed a way to knock out Nazi Germany’s hydroelectric dams. Besides air and sea defences, the Germans devised torpedo nets that protected their dams from conventional attacks.

Not to be defeated, the British devised a “bouncing bomb” to be dropped from Lancaster bombers flying just 60 feet above the water. The mission was bold and dangerous, but the 617th prevailed, earning them a sort of legendary status in history.

Here’s an illustration of how the bouncing bomb worked (from Weymouth College):

Now, airmen from the same squadron train with US Marines in Beaufort, South Carolina, to fly the most advanced jet in the world, the F-35 Lightning II.

“We work alongside the US Marines flying the jets and training pilots and maintainers every day. We’ve been working with our US partners since the beginning of the F-35 programme and we continue to develop the capabilities of the aircraft together,” said RAF Wing Commander John Butcher, 35, the current officer commanding of the 617 Squadron, whose grandfather flew Lancasters during World War II.

“We work very closely with the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps and other international partners in making decisions on the programme; the relationships really couldn’t be better.”

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