The United States is planning to deploy up to two squadrons of F-35A stealth fighter jets to an air base in eastern England.
The Telegraph newspapers on Wednesday reported that two squadrons of F-35A fighters will arrive at the US-rented RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.
A defense source told The Telegraph: “F-35s will be based there. They have deployed and will be moving in at the end of this year, if not sometime in 2024.”
Military sources described the move to bring in 54 F-35s, which will replace the F-15s currently at the airbase, as “significant”. F-15s are able to carry nuclear weapons, but are less advanced.
The potential return of US nuclear weapons to British soil has been described by experts as evidence that the West has entered a new cold war.
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of Britain and NATO’s Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment, said: “This is absolutely a cold war and it is strategic brinkmanship. This is a game of poker. If the US is putting nukes in the UK, it’s a message to Russia that they are serious.
The F-35 is America’s most advanced fighter jet. With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35A will provide next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations.