Four of the cutting-edge fighters will fly trans-Atlantic from their current home in the US, with several air-to-air refuelling serials en route and will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
The new F-35 aircraft will be flown by pilots from reformed 617 Squadron, the same squadron that flew the Lancaster bombers in the famous 1943 Dambusters raid which used Barnes Wallis’ revolutionary bouncing bombs to disable Adolf Hitler’s industrial heartland.
The news was announced by the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson on the 75th anniversary of the daring night-time mission.
Announcing the arrival of the jets on Wednesday while at RAF Coningsby, he said; “75 years ago the Dambusters pushed the boundaries of what was possible. That same spirit of innovation continues today as the Dambusters of today prepare to fly the world’s most advanced fighter jet in the skies over the UK”.
The F35s will eventually fly off the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, with the first flight trials due to take place on board the £3.1bn HMS Queen Elizabeth off the east coast of the United States later this year.
The UK has committed to buying 138 F-35s over the next few decades and they will be jointly operated by the RAF and the Royal Navy.
Britain currently has 15 of the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the jets in the United States being tested and used for training.
The jet measures 51.2ft (15.6m) in overall length, has a wingspan of 35ft (10.7m) and a height of 14.3ft (4.36m).
It has a top speed of 1.6 Mach or 1,200 mph, a Max G rating of 7G, and a combat radius of 518 miles (833km).
Lockheed Martin, the American company building the jet, claims the design makes it “virtually undetectable to enemy radar”.
There are six infrared cameras around the plane which feed real-time information and images into the pilot’s helmet.
Lockheed Martin said across the 3,000 jets being built, 15% of each one is comprised of parts from British companies including Rolls-Royce, and BAE Systems.
The F-35 can launch from land, and will take off from HMS Queen Elizabeth via the skip jump ramp, which has been designed to optimise the launch, for the first time later this year.
The jet is capable of two types of ship landing – vertically on to the deck, and also through the shipborne rolling vertical landing, which using forward air speed, allows the aircraft to bring back several thousand pounds of extra weight to the ship.
The warplanes will carry out missions from the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
HMS Queen Elizabeth weighs 65,000 tonnes and has a top speed of 25 knots, its flight deck is 919ft (280m) long and 230ft (70m) wide – enough space for three football pitches.