RAF FAIRFORD, ENGLAND – The star of the 2016 edition of the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) was definitely the U.S. Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, showcasing its STOVL (Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing) capabilities. It was the F-35B’s first demo at an airshow in Europe and outside the U.S. The F-35B is from the USMC VMFAT-501 squadron, known as the ‘Warlords’ and based at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. The USMC F-35B is the successor of the USMC McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II, which made its first flight in November 1981 and entered service with the USMC in January 1985. The U.S. Marine Corps is expected to operate its Harriers until 2025.
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