Britain’s cutting-edge stealth fighter jets are poised to fly at a public event for the first time since touching down on UK soil as the RAF celebrates its centenary year.
Up to three of the multimillion-pound warplanes could feature in the huge flypast set to roar above the Mall and Buckingham Palace on July 10.
The Queen will be joined by family members including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for today’s events.
Celebrations will begin with a service at Westminster Abbey from 10.30am, with the flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1pm, followed by a reception.
Along with Charles, the Queen will present a new Queen’s Colour to the RAF in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace before making a brief speech.
The royals will then appear on the balcony of Buckingham palace to see the flypast of up to 100 RAF aircraft, a parade of more than 1,000 personnel, and a feu de joie (a rifle salute).
Charles, Camilla, William, Harry and Meghan will also meet veterans, personnel, charity representatives and those from the civil service in a reception after the spectacle.
If you want to be in the heart of the action, head to The Mall in London where the RAF will be hosting a very special parade kicking off at 11.25am.
The officer commanding 617 squadron, Wing Commander John Butcher, is set to fly an F-35 during the spectacle, and said for him personally it is "very important" for the jets to feature.
"That will be the first that we will have flown it in a public environment since we landed back, so it is an exciting opportunity," he said.
"Now we just need to make sure the jets are in a good place to fly."
Four of the supersonic jets, which had been based at US Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, crossed the Atlantic last month.
They are now permanently based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, with another five of the jets expected to arrive in the UK by the end of July to the beginning of August.
Quizzed on how likely it is the jets will take part, Wg Cdr Butcher said he is hopeful that at least one jet will feature in the formation – but serviceability and the weather could affect numbers.
"It is very early days for us, we are still learning to operate back at our main operating base, so there are many factors at play that could prevent us from doing it," he said.
"But, I am still hopeful that we will be able to support it in some way.
"But the chance obviously still exists that we may not be able to.
"We haven’t got many jets here still and we are relying on a small pool."
The flypast is set to feature aircraft including Puma and Chinook helicopters, a Lancaster, Spitfires, Hurricanes, the A400M Atlas, Tornados, Typhoons and the F-35 stealth fighter jets.
It was 100 years ago on April 1, 1918, that the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to create the RAF – the world’s first independent air service.
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