Hobby Master HA4618 Lockheed F-35B Lightning ZM159/025 Operation Achillean HMS Queen Elizabeth 1/72
"F-35B Lightning II ""Operation Achillean"" ZM159/025, 617 Sqn., HMS Queen Elizabeth, Nov 2022 (Beast Mode)"
The British forces took part in “Operation Achillean” as a multi-unit deployment that operated from the North Sea to the Mediterranean to show the strong bonds they have with NATO. The Royal Navy portion consisted of nine warships including HMS Queen Elizabeth with No. 617 “Dam Busters” onboard. The 617 was reformed in preparation to fly the F-35. One of the aircraft was F-35B ZM159/025 c/n 2BK.0025 U.S. serial 169931 that began flight testing in the U.S. in October 2021 and joined 617 Squadron February 15, 2022.
The Lockheed F-35 is an advanced stealth fifth generation fighter combining speed and superb agility. There are three variants; F-35A, B and C. The F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) and has four internal weapons stations in two weapons bays plus three optional external weapons stations. The F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant while the F-35C is a CV (Carrier Variant). The F-35 will replace the USAF A-10 and F-16, the F/A-18 for the USN and the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the USMC.
In 2017 RAF and Royal Navy F-35B pilots would be trained by the No. 207 Squadron at RAF Markham. It wasn’t until July 16, 2019 that the first F-35s arrived and the F-35 Lightning Operational Conversion Unit stood up on August 1, 2019. The first batch of F-35s arrived in June 2018 with F-35B Lightning II ZM158 c/n 2BK0024 and two other aircraft as part of the fifth batch arrived on Thursday October 28, 2021. In February 2022 ZM158 was part of a fly past celebrating the 80th anniversary of the 8th Air Force.