RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

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  • Four supersonic aircraft arrived last Wednesday at RAF Marham in Norfolk
  • But section at end of runway is said to be protected just by the low fence
  • Directions on reaching the point have allegedly been posted online
  • But rest of base in countryside is protected by 18ft barbed-wire fences

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Britain's new GBP120million F-35 Lightning warplanes are being guarded only by a 5ft picket fence, it has been claimed.

The four supersonic aircraft arrived last week at RAF Marham in Norfolk, but a section at the end of the runway is said to be protected just by the low fence.

Directions on reaching the point have allegedly been posted online, although the rest of the base in the countryside is protected by 18ft barbed-wire fences.

A Tornado jet takes off from RAF Marham in Norfolk today in front of the 5ft picket fence

A Tornado jet takes off from RAF Marham in Norfolk today in front of the 5ft picket fence

Directions on reaching the point of the fence at Marham have allegedly been posted online

It is the latest chapter in the troubled history of the F-35 project, whose spiralling costs have made it the most world's most expensive weapons system.

Former SAS hero Robin Horsfall told The Sun[2]: 'A team of commandos could get over that fence and destroy all the jets in one night.

'This is another reflection of the poor standards and lack of investment in armed forces.

'The Ministry of Defence hasn't got the troops to defend the airfield or the money to put in fences.'

RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

RAF Marham can be seen over the small picket fence in the Norfolk countryside today

RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

The section at the end of the runway at RAF Marham is said to be protected just by a low fence

Last Wednesday, four of the F-35 Lightning warplanes touched down on UK soil for the first time, having been stationed in America since their manufacture.

The aircraft, which had been based at US Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, are being tested and used for training by RAF and Royal Navy pilots.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has described them as 'formidable fighters' which are set to keep the country safe from the 'gravest of dangers'.

Britain currently has 15 F-35Bs - the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the jets - and has pledged to purchase 138 in total from Lockheed Martin.

RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

An F-35 Lightning jet arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk last Wednesday, one of the first four from the reformed 617 'Dambusters' Squadron to arrive in the UK from the US

RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

The four F-35 jets arrive at RAF Marham last Wednesday after flying over from South Carolina

Later this year F-35 flight trials will take place off HMS Queen Elizabeth - seeing British pilots fly jointly owned test jets, currently based in Maryland, off the deck.

A further five jets will join the others at Marham by the end of July and the beginning of August, to make up the recently reformed historic 617 'Dambusters' squadron.

An RAF spokesman told MailOnline today: 'As a matter of policy neither the RAF nor the MoD discuss security measures at our units.

'However, we can confirm that security measures in place are robust and multi-layered and are not solely dependent on perimeter fencing.'

F-35: the world's most expensive weapon system that has been plagued with problems

The delivery RAF's new, US-built F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter marked a rare moment of celebration in what has been a troubled project.

The 'fifth generation' fighter aircraft is already the world's most expensive weapons system, though costs have finally stabilised at an eye-watering £406 billion.

Manufacturer Lockheed-Martin agreed to cap costs after Donald Trump critised the project and even tweeted support for a rival aircraft.

Britain is currently embarked on a GBP9.1 billion programme to purchase 48 of the F-35s, from American aviation giant Lockheed Martin, by 2025.

One of the first four F-35B Lightning II aircraft arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk

One of the first four F-35B Lightning II aircraft arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk

America enticed its Nato and other allies into sharing the cost of the aircraft by offering input into manufacture and 15 per cent of each one is comprised of parts from British companies while some of the jets will be made in Italy.

But the planes have been plagued by a catalogue of problems which have sent costs soaring.

There are concerns about shortcomings in the technical systems underpinning the new generation of war planes will leave them unable to function properly.

According to reports the true cost of the British planes delivered this year will be more than GBP150 million each to cover 'extras' such as software upgrades and spare parts.

There are also concerns plane's software system is vulnerable to cyber-attack and cannot be tested independently by the UK.

The weak broadband on the Royal Navy's principal aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is also hampering the jet's abilities.

RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

The problems are not helped by the department responsible for the computer networks essential to the aircraft's operation needs to find savings of GBP400 million this year.

The reports into the costs and other problems prompted the Defence Select Committee to launch an inquiry into the project.

It reprimanded the Ministry of Defence for keeping parliament and the public in the dark about the costs.

The MoD has so far refused to provide the estimated cost to the UK of buying the F-35, beyond referring to a National Audit Office which used the GBP9.1 billion figure.

MPs said 'it is simply not acceptable for the MoD to refuse to disclose to parliament and the public its estimates for the total cost of the programme'.

RAF's new £120m Lightning superjets are protected by just a 5ft picket fence in shocking airbase security lapse

Though the cost of the F-35 has been the focus of attention, there have also been embarrassing reports of operational shortcomings emerging from the United States.

In a mock air battle in 2015, the cutting edge plane was defeated by an older generation F-16, a plane designed in the 1970s.

Last year Pentagon tests found 276 different faults in jet's combat system.

They included the 25mm cannon vibrating excessively and problems with the he aircraft's 'virtual reality' helmet

Overheating, premature wear of components in the vertical tails and vulnerability to fire were also found to be issues.

The US Air Force temporarily grounded dozens its F-35 stealth fighters while it investigated an oxygen supply issue.

The Marine Corps, who also operate the same F-35B model the UK has purchased, was forced to ground its planes after flaws were found in the computer system.

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References

  1. ^ e-mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ The Sun (www.thesun.co.uk)

Two people arrested for drugs offences

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PUBLISHED: 12:44 11 June 2018

Sophie Wyllie [1]

Norfolk Police arrested a man and woman in Norwich for drugs offences under Operation Gravity. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norfolk Police arrested a man and woman in Norwich for drugs offences under Operation Gravity. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A man and woman have been arrested for drugs offences in Norwich.

[embedded content] Norfolk Police made the arrest under its Operation Gravity project, which tackles London drug gangs funnelling crack and heroin into Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn.

Officers stopped a Ford Focus on Newmarket Road, Norwich, at 8.25pm on June 8 and seized four mobile phones, along with a quantity of what was believed to be Class A drugs and some cash. A 28-year-old man from London was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class A drug. A 34-year-old woman from Norwich was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Both have been released under police investigation while enquiries continue.

Anyone with any information about drug dealing in their area should call Norfolk Police on 101 quoting Operation Gravity.

References

  1. ^ Sophie Wyllie (www.eveningnews24.co.uk)

Everything you need to know about the Royal Norfolk Show

A drone's eye view of the show. Picture: contributed

A drone's eye view of the show. Picture: contributed

Archant

Here are some important housekeeping notes for all showgoers to make your experience even better....

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Breast feeding and baby changing

A breast feeding unit is available next to the MacGregor Building and also a room in the toilet block at the eastern side of the Grand Ring on Avenue 9. There are also baby changing facilities in the disabled section of toilet blocks. Cash machines

Cash machines are located to the north and east of the Grand Ring as shown on the event map and in the Food Hall. Chaplaincy A quiet area is available for prayer and reflection near the main Show Office.

A number of denominational chaplains will be present at the show. Child tagging Child tagging is available inside all main entrance gates and staffed by the Lions Club International.

Children, the elderly, vulnerable and event dogs can be tagged with a "Guardian Angels" wristband where there is space for a contact phone number. Dogs Dogs are welcome at the Royal Norfolk Show.

They must be kept on a lead at all times and litter disposed of in the special bins provided. Dogs must not be left in cars. Security

An active security plan is in operation at the show. Please report any suspicions activity to a steward or security staff. You may be liable to have your bag searched at any time.

First aid St John Ambulance will have several first aid units across the showground as shown on the event map. There is also a Medical Centre in the MacGregor Building.

Grandstands Free covered grandstand seating is available at the Grand Ring (on the eastern side off Avenue 9), the Light Horse Ring and Wensum Ring. Reserved seating for the Grand Ring can also be booked in advance through the Show Office (01603 748931), or on show days at the Grandstand Ticket Office which is next to the Grandstand.

Seats cost GBP6 and are reserved for the ticket holder all day. Tickets cost GBP6. Grandstands are free of charge to holders of the relevant badges.

Hand washing We encourage all visitors to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching animals and before eating. Handwashing facilities are available in all toilet blocks.

Lost persons Should you see a lost person, please inform a steward or security staff who will ensure the person is cared for until they can be re-united with their group. Lost property

During the show, lost property can be taken to, or collected from, the Show Office. Show office The Show Office can be found on Royal Avenue and is open from 7am-6pm.

Please do visit the Show Office if you require any assistance, or to become an RNAA member. Smoking Smoking is not permitted in any marquee, building or in any of the livestock areas across the showground.

Please be considerate of others if you choose to smoke in outside catering areas. Disabled facilities All toilet blocks on the showground have disabled toilet facilities.

Mobiloo, a changing facility with a hoist, is also available (see map on pages 50-51). Mobility Forward parking is offered in all main car parks for blue badge holders.

In addition, ?a limited number of disabled parking spaces can be reserved in Green Car Park. Please contact the Show Office in advance to book - 01603 748931. The Rotary Club of Norwich offers a buggy service across the showground.

They will be available at Norwich, Dereham and Wymondham gates. New for 2018, a Rotary Club Bus Stop is also located at 4th Drive, opposite the Sports Zone. If you need a lift across the showground, just flag down a buggy, or head to the bus stop if you are in the ?area.

Electric scooters and wheelchairs can ?be hired from Event Mobility.

Booking must be made in advance.

For further information please visit the Event Mobility ?www.eventmobility.org.uk web site, email [email protected] or contact the office on 01386 725391.

References

  1. ^ Share (www.edp24.co.uk)