At least one British F-35 will join US Marine Corps aircraft and participate in air shows this year.
The US Marine Corps revealed it plans on sending a pair of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets to two air shows in Britain this summer. Some US Air Force F-35 jets will also take part in the events ina ddition to one British aircraft.
Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lieutenant General Jon Davis said:
“The U.S. Marine Corps is looking forward to demonstrating the capabilities of the F-35B Lightning II in the skies over the United Kingdom this July.”
It is understood that the joint US Marine Corps and UK detachment would “utilise the flights in order to validate foreign deployment activities and to prove program interoperability.”
This comes as the US Department of Defence has accepted its 45th F-35 delivery for 2015, meeting the production goal for the year. Lockheed Martin has delivered 154 operational aircraft to the US and partner nations since the programme was initiated.
Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer said:
“Meeting aircraft production goals is a critical stepping stone in demonstrating the program is ready for the expected significant production ramp up, it took thousands of people around the world to achieve this milestone and they should all be proud of what they accomplished.”
The 45 F-35 deliveries this year include:
• 26 F-35A – U.S. Air Force
• 2 F-35A – Royal Norwegian Air Force (first two)
• 1 F-35A – Aeronautica Militare (first Italian Air Force)
• 8 F-35B – U.S. Marine Corps
• 8 F-35C – 4 U.S. Navy /4 U.S. Marine Corps
The Ministry of Defence have clarified the details surrounding the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and their complement of F-35 aircraft, no doubt in response to the plethora of claims that the vessels will sail with “no aircraft”, “no crew”, no sandwiches in the galley etc.
The following is a direct quote from the MoD that explains the timetable for the UK’s carrier and F-35 projects and can be found here.
There has been speculation in the media that there has been a change in the delivery programme for the F-35B that may result in delays to the roll out of the UK’s Carrier Strike capability – and that, in an operational emergency, US jets may fly from the Carriers until the UK F-35 fleet is ready.
- This is not the case. It was always the intention to take a phased approach to ordering F35.
- We are fully committed to both the F35 and the Queen Elizabeth Carrier programmes -both of which are on track to enter initial maritime operating capability in December 2020 as planned.
- We expect Queen Elizabeth carrier to commence sea trials in 2017, and have been clear that UK F35 aircraft will be used for first of class flying trials in 2018.
- Our relationship with the US is mutually beneficial and we share a sense of common purpose. In 2012 we signed an agreement to enhance cooperation on carrier operations. Indeed, UK pilots have already flown from US ships in preparation for UK carrier operations.
Britain is expected to purchase 138 F-35B aircraft. In an interview with The Sunday Times, George Osborne said the investment will ensure the UK has the world’s second most potent carrier strike force after the United States, with the resources to tackle IS and other extremist groups for a generation.