F-35 completes first transatlantic flight on delivery to UK

The next-generation STOVL jet has finally replaced the venerable Harrier on its own soil.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Marines forces on either side of the Atlantic have depended on air support from the versatile AV-8B Harrier jump jet and its marvelous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capability to lift into flight without a runway. But the venerable aircraft has slowly been phased out in favor of the upcoming F-35 Lightning II fighter plane, which will come in a Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL)-equipped 'B' version. Despite scandals over its bloated budget and delayed schedule, the first F-35B intended for the UK has just finished the jet's first recorded transatlantic flight as it lands in Britain in a video posted by the US Marine Corps.

Royal Air Force squadron leader Hugh Nichols will be flying the plane on its historic trip. After arriving, he will tour airshows around the UK to show off the role that the next-generation fighter will play in both the RAF and the Royal Marines.