Their work is to test and evaluate the aircraft to make sure that when it comes into service it will be the best of its kind for the Royal Navy’s future aircraft carriers and the Royal Air Force.
But before the squadron was able to start testing under UK regulations, the team had to put processes in place to allow testing and evaluating of the UK’s first F-35 Lightning II. Therefore on February 9, 2015, 17(R) Squadron initiated the program.
Chief technician Daniel Foulkes, from the RAF, is the maintenance controller for 17(R) Squadron. His role is to co-ordinate all the maintenance for the UK F-35. He explains, “The advance in technology has really helped with the maintenance of the F-35. We’re using computers now, whereas before we were relying on using usual manual methods. So it’s sped up a lot of the testing and made the whole process more efficient.”