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U.K.’s Secretary of State for Defence visits countrymen at Edwards

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) meets with members of the Royal Air Force's 17 Squadron, which is the organization on Edwards Air Force Base responsible for the operational test and evaluation of the U.K.'s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Dec. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kyle Larson)

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) meets with members of the Royal Air Force's 17 Squadron, which is the organization on Edwards Air Force Base responsible for the operational test and evaluation of the U.K.'s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Dec. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kyle Larson)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The United Kingdom’s top military official received an up-close look at his country’s new fifth-generation fighter Dec. 2.

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) visited the U.K. component of the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team at Edwards AFB for a program brief on U.K. F-35 Lightning II testing. He also met with his countrymen from the Royal Air Force’s 17 Squadron who are stationed at Edwards.

Williamson was given a tour of the JOTT facilities by Edwards U.K. leadership and was afforded the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of one of the U.K. F-35s.

The defence secretary also met with Brig. Gen. Christopher Azzano, Air Force Test Center commander, and Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert III, 412th Test Wing commander.

According to the U.K. government, Secretary of State for Defence Williamson has overall responsibility for the business of the department including strategic operations and operational strategy; defence planning; programme and resource allocation; strategic international partnerships; nuclear operations policy and organisations; and strategic communications.

Williamson was appointed Secretary of State for Defence Nov. 2, 2017. Prior to that, he served as a member of Parliament and worked as a business executive.

The JOTT conducts operational test and evaluation of all variants of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which includes several allied nations along with the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force.

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