Lakenheath fighter squadron named after Norse beings who selected the warriors who died in battle

Two F15 fighter jets on a taxiway at RAF Lakenheath
F-15 fighter jets at RAF Lakenheath will be joined by F-35s later this year Credit: ITV Anglia

A fighter squadron flying the latest supersonic jets out of a Suffolk airbase will be known as 'the Valkyries', the US Air Force has announced.

A public vote helped pick the new nickname for the 495th fighter squadron, which will be based at RAF Lakenheath.

They will fly F-35A fighter planes, the first overseas USAF squadron to do so, when the jets arrive in the UK later this year.

In Norse mythology, Valkyries were female figures who chose who died and lived in battle.

The USAF said the name also links to East Anglia's viking and norse history.

Lt. Col. Ian McLaughlin, the incoming commander of 495 squadron, said: "‘Valkyries’ epitomises the force’s move toward more inclusivity and equally represents the fifth-generation stealth fighter’s air superiority.

"I am honoured to be the first commander of the initial U.S. Air Force overseas-based F-35A unit. Like the Valkyries themselves, we’ll be vital to determining the fate of our adversaries in the battlespace."

The 48th Fighter Wing has been based at RAF Lakenheath since 1960, and currently operates F-15 fighter planes.

"Basing F-35s at RAF Lakenheath will be a game changer as it will allow us to further advance interoperability with our European teammates, and is a visible demonstration that we and all of NATO will continue to own the skies," said Col. Jason Camilletti, 48th Fighter Wing commander.

Hundreds of names were initially suggested for the new squadron, with Valkyries being chosen ahead of Archangels, Sabres, Sentinels, and Swordsmen.