F-35 equipment was loaded onto an A400M Atlas this week in preparation for the first F-35 squadron to stand up in the United Kingdom later in 2018.
In 2013, it was announced that 617 Squadron would become the first operational RAF unit to receive the F-35. Currently, the squadron is in the process of forming ahead of standing up in later this year as the first British front-line squadron with the.
617 will be composed of both RAF and Royal Navy personnel, operating both from RAF Marham, and from the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. It will fly alongside the Fleet Air Arm’s 809 NAS.
The 14th F-35 for the United Kingdom was recently delivered by Lockheed Martin.
It is expected that all aircraft will have been delivered by the 2030s. Around 2023, the Ministry of Defence have indicated that the UK will have 42 aircraft with 24 available as ‘front-line fighters’ and the remaining 18 will be used for training (at least 5 on the OCU), be in reserve or in maintenance.
Numbers right now are exactly where they’re expected to be and inline with the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
2 F-35B in LRIP run 3, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 4, 1 F-35B in LRIP run 7, 4 F-35B in LRIP run 8, 6 F-35B in LRIP run 9, 3 F-35B in LRIP run 10, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 11, 2 F-35B in LRIP run 12
6 F-35B in LRIP run 13, 8 F-35B in LRIP run 14 and 7 F-35B in LRIP run 15. This brings us to 42 in 2023.
The next run brings us to the total of the first batch of aircraft, 48.