Squadron Leader Andy Edgell is currently testing F-35 jets in the United States ahead of their trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth next year.

“She’s marvellous. She has an incredible amount of thrust but it’s more than just brawn that makes her so fantastic to fly – it’s the brains behind her as well.

She’s a masterful piece of engineering and it makes her so effortless to fly. It’s impossible not to be exhilarated every time. She’s a beast when you want her to be and tame when you need her to be. She’s beautiful.

The launch of the F35s from the HMS Queen Elizabeth is a once in a generation historical event. To be the first to fly off the carrier, to have a front row seat, would be an absolute privilege. It wouldn’t just be about the pilot – there are hundreds of people who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen and the honour will be theirs too.”

There are already 150 UK personnel out in the US working with the state-of-the-art jets, and the latest course of UK pilots have just finished their ground school training and are now ready to fly the F-35B at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.

The Defence Minister also announced that last week, the first F-35 flight with the latest software was conducted on one of the UK’s F-35Bs at Edwards Air Force Base in California. This software upgrade, technically known as Block 3F, represents the full warfighting capability the UK F-35s will have at Initial Operating Capability in December 2018.

UK industry will provide approximately 15% of the value of each F-35 to be built, more than 3,000, worth some £1 billon and generating around 25,000 British jobs. The programme remains on time, within costs and offers the best capability for our Armed Forces.


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Has it been confirmed this guy will be the first as the article makes it sound like he is just saying what an honour it would be should it be him. Nice to hear how enthusiastic he and other pilots are about the F-35. I know the project has had serious issues but time and again pilots praise it and these are the guys who will have to put their lives on the line flying it in combat, so I think we should take notice of what they say. I am old enough to remember how the Tornado was lambasted… Read more »

Dave Branney

This should be seen as really good news for us and hopefully will speed up developing the aircraft for operational capability. However, it has been reported in a number of Russian and “Arab” news feeds that a Israeli aircraft had been targeted and shot down. According to the available information, the Syrian Defence Forces used a S-200 (SA-5) missile against the Israeli warplane that invaded its airspace. This Soviet-made missile is the most advanced long range anti-aircraft system operated by the Syrian military. Even though it’s old-fashioned in terms by modern standards. Despite this, the Syrian Defence Ministry said in… Read more »


LOL, that is an awful lot of speculation Dave but i admire the confidence with which you assert it them as fact 🙂

Ben P

Sounds like BS.

Dave Branney

I recognise its a bit if a stretch, especially when considering the credibility of both the Russian and Syrian press. However, it is worth taking note that Russia have a S400 battery in Syria near to the Lebanese border and that it can network control the S200 system. And coincidentally a F35 was damaged in a bird strike incident on the same day. However, what can be gleaned as truth is that “Syria” did launch a S200 missile at an Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon this month and due to their actions, Israel did launch an air strike at the… Read more »


Cold in Moscow at at the moment Dave?


So…. F-16s are able to evade this very old SAM…. but an F-35, many miles away in the south of Israel is somehow detected and shot down!


Kremlinbots aren’t what they used to be


Russian news is not news, it’s propaganda. Propaganda with the almost single aim of keeping Putin in power. You should treat anything reported by them with extreme skepticism.


Did I read that correctly? IOC for UK F-35s in 13 months time?

Its all coming together very quickly now. Thumbs up to all concerned.

Dave Branney

The IOC can’t come soon enough and hopefully all the “Naysayers” will be put back in their boxes. There will be a significant period of wow didn’t know it could do that and have you seen what it did there, once the capabilities have been explored and exploited. I’m not sure how Russia or China will be able to compete against it by comparable aircraft. As it has been reported that both the PAK-FA and J21 are suffering significant engine and airframe issues. I expect the first two years post IOC, the aircraft will suffer some faults and develop some… Read more »


UK to build 15% of each F 35 more than 3000 to be built worth some 1 billion-that figure does not sound right unless it is the’old’ UK billion. If it is the US billion then only 300 thousand pounds per aircraft?