The Royal Navy have announced that an F-35B Lightning will appear at the Royal Navy International Air Day on Saturday 13th July at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset.

It is understood that the aircraft will be making an airborne-only appearance with two flypasts – one slow and one fast.

A full-sized F-35B model with cockpit access will also be on static display for a close-up look at the UK’s new fifth generation fighter, say the Royal Navy.

Recently, the 17th F-35B for the UK was delivered. 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.

It is hoped that 138 F-35 aircraft will have been delivered by the 2030s. Around 2023, the Ministry of Defence have indicated that the UK will have 42 F-35 aircraft with 24 available as ‘front-line fighters’ and the remaining 18 will be used for training (at least 4-5 on the OCU), be in reserve or in maintenance.

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Mike Saul

Despite its prolonged and difficult birth the F35 is the combat aircraft of the future.

But it’s support and update costs are going to be very expensive.

Nigel Collins

This should give you some idea!

“This more intensive software development effort may also boost the cost of follow-on modernization. During a March hearing, Winter acknowledged that U.S. and international customers could pay up to $16 billion for Block 4 modernization — a figure that includes $10.8 billion for development and $5.4 billion for procurement of upgrades to the F-35 between fiscal years 2018 through 2024.”


The OCU is due to stand up in the next month or two (207SQN) and more aircraft are expected to be delivered to Marham. Does anybody know if these further 2 milestones are imminent?


Wow! Is that the best they can do two flypasts “one fast and one slow” what a joke. Bare minimum thinking as usual from the MOD.

Daniele Mandelli

I remember one year at Mildenhall, the annual “Air Fete” laid on by the USAF, there was a whole squadron of Sea Harriers hovering line abreast down the runway. What a sight….

With so few assets now a singleton is fine but why can it not land and spend the day at Yeovilton so taxpayers can see what they are paying for??


Perhaps the ALIS system would not let it get in the air again?

Alan Reid

Hi Daniele, I remember that same routine at Farnborough International in about 1988/1990.
Six Sea Harriers FRS1, plus helicopters ……….. what a sight, what a noise!

Daniele Mandelli

Quite Alan! Regards and good memories.

Alan Reid

Hi Cam, To be fair, I think it’s far too early in the F-35B introduction-to-service phase for the RAF/FAA to work-up an aerobatic air-show routine; there are other more pressing priorities. F-35B is no different in that respect from when Tornado or Typhoon were introduced.
With thousands of spectators on the ground, flight-safety is paramount – and a fully rehearsed display is needed. But here’s hoping for one in 2020 …..

Alan Garner

If the Tempest program doesn’t go as badly as Typhoon and Lightning II one could be flying before the UK gets it’s full compliment of this aircraft.