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Dambusters to be disbanded – for now!

written by | January 31, 2014
The RAF's 617 Sqn will disband and prepare for the arrival of the first RAF F-35Bs in 2016. (Crown Copyright)
The RAF’s 617 Sqn will disband and prepare for the arrival of the first RAF F-35Bs in 2016. (Crown Copyright)

The famous RAF 617 Squadron, better known as the ‘Dambusters’ will soon be disbanded after the unit completed its latest deployment to Afghanistan.

617 became famous after the unit, equipped with modified Lancaster bombers successfully breached a number of dams in the Ruhr Valley in 1943, thus severely impacting Germany’s war effort.

Now flying Tornado GR4s, the squadron is to return home to its base at RAF Lossiemouth and mothball its aircraft. But the unit’s history will not stop there, as it is scheduled to reform in 2016 as the RAF’s first operational F-35B Lightning II unit.


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  • Brad


    Not sure ‘disbanded’ is the right term here. That would imply that the squadron’s colours are to be laid up and a number of other things happening that would only take place if the unit was to disappear for a very long time.

    (…and you could imagine WGCDR Guy Gibson VC, DSO, DFC rolling in his grave if it did).

    If it’s being re-equipped with F-35’s in 2016, it may only (at worst) be ‘reduced to number only status’, though the short hiatus suggests that this too is unlikely.

    More likely it will be neither, and will remain as is (on paper at least, in the short term) with reduced–possibly skeleton–staffing until the transition to F-35’s commences.

    “Apres Moi Le Deluge”



      “Disbanded” was the terminology used on the UK MoD website, so we ran with that.

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