AVAIATION history will be made this summer as a combat aircraft which has never been seen outside the USA is going on display at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford.

In a major airshow first, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter, will appear at RIAT at RAF Fairford in July.

The aircraft's appearance at the show will allow a whole new audience to see it close up and will be the latest in a long list of legendary military aircraft that have made their UK debut at the Air Tattoo.

These have included the F-14 Tomcat in 1976, the MiG-23 in 1991, the Typhoon in 1995 and the V-22 Osprey in 2006.

Air Tattoo chief executive designate Andy Armstrong said: "Not only will people witness aviation history being made at the Air Tattoo this summer but they will also see a breath-taking demonstration of the future of combat aviation."

The F-35 is described as combining "the most lethal fighter characteristics, supersonic speed, radar-evading stealth, extreme agility and short take-off/vertical landing capability."

The UK plans to procure 138 F-35Bs for joint operation by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and has begun pilot and maintainer training on the aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The F-35 will, in future, become a common sight in our skies – but it will perform its first international display at this summer’s Air Tattoo.

The Air Tattoo is held annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust and tickets are only available in advance.

Specially-priced Earlybird tickets for the event on July 11-13 are available until May 31 and all accompanied under-16s go free.