Five F-35B jets made the 3,000-mile journey across the Atlantic from a US Marine Corps base in South Carolina supported by Voyager tankers.

9 of the UK’s 15 F-35Bs are now in the UK.

According to a statement yesterday:

“The F-35 is the world’s largest defence programme at over $1.3 trillion, and UK industry is providing 15% of every one of over 3,000 jets set for the global order book. That makes the economic impact greater than if we were building 100% of all 138 aircraft which we intend to buy.

The F-35s took off from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort earlier today, and are being flown by British pilots of the newly-reformed 617 Squadron, which was immortalised by the famous Dambusters’ raid during World War II.”

Earlier in the year, the 15th 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.

As the only level one partner on the F-35 programme, the UK has been working closely with the US from the outset. UK industry will provide approximately 15% by value of each F-35 to be built, which are due to total more than 3000 in number.

The MoD say that programme has already generated $12.9Bn worth of orders for the UK and at peak production the programme will support over 24,000 jobs in the UK.

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Andrew Smith
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Andrew Smith

Are you sure of the numbers aren’t some being built in Japan. Are we providing components for those

andyreeves
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andyreeves

either way it makes the carrier compliment nearer to the required squadron level then ‘big lizzy’ is ready to go kick some a**

Harold
Guest
Harold

And whose ‘arse’ would you expect HMS Queen Elizabeth to ‘kick’ young Mr Andy Reeves? Have you ever been involved in a conflict (as I have?). Do you relish the thought of one? Would you be prepared to lose your life at the whim of a politician?

reaper
Guest
reaper

I was about to tell you to calm down but I fundimentaly agree with your post. I find arm chair war hawks who bang on about how great the sa80 or beat the war drums for something they wouldn’t ever right in a real pain in the arse.

reaper
Guest
reaper

also I find autocorrect a pain in my own arse. need to proof read more

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

Agreed. Harold got it right.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Jesus Christ, _do_ calm down. It is not that big a deal. We are allowed to be proud of the nation’s engineering prowess (despite the hiccups along the way). Nevermind the choice of vernacular, the sentiment is clear; HMS Queen Elizabeth is soon due to set sail (see what I did there; she doesn’t have a sail, but you still knew what I meant). This is very exciting. Alas, when someone says that he/she hopes she will “kick ass” I am quite positive that he/she is not trying to glorify the likes of the Battle of Medway and the horrors… Read more »

HF
Guest
HF

Battle of Medway

Did you mean Midway – just a typo – or former confrontations with the Dutch ?

reaper
Guest
reaper

well frank, from my experience it’s always those who ‘nearly’ joined are the ones who post on social media about kicking someone’s ass. they make serving personnel cringe

Chunkie
Guest
Chunkie

Tony Blair did!

P tattersall
Guest
P tattersall

I thought you join the Royal Navy knowing you could be involved in war at anytime !!!!!! I would say it you don’t fancy conflicts don’t join !!

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

unfortunately it looks like everyone on here have served, the ones who haven’t should be challenged when people on here start taking the p*** just because somebody has posted something they don’t like is wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinions and be respected for sharing them RANT OVER.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

i served in the falklands in 1982 and if we’d had a proper carrier we wouldn’t have lost so many ships my life would have been forfeited by a politician. use your brains mr. harold before you choose to insult peoples opinions, its called respect. try it sometime.

Helions
Guest
Helions

My favorite magazine cover ever,,,

Cheers!

Helions
Guest
Helions
geoff
Guest
geoff

Helions-The Empire Strikes Back. I still have my copy and the cover was the reason I have kept it for all these years!

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Well spoken Harold

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

why? he’s a troll!

GWM
Guest
GWM

There are 2 other final assay lines besides Lockmart, Japan are final assembling their own and Italy are assembling theirs and Holland’s all the rest come from the US.

Steve
Guest
Steve

It is strange as a tier 1 partner we didn’t go for assembly in the UK. Ok this way we get 15% of all planes rather than i assume less from an assembly line, but equally building planes here would help in the long term with tempest and any other aviation projects. The difference to the tax payer will be marginal, since i doubt much of the 15% flows back as tax income.

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Andrew Smith – Given others have hijacked your post for their own ends I will answer your question: Yes we supply what we build for every F-35 regardless of where it is assembled. Its a similar concept to how Typhoons are built – each country builds the same sub-assemblies which are shipped to wherever final assembly takes place.

I agree with ‘Steve’ that if anyone should have been given an FAL in Europe it should have been the UK – but that is another hobby horse of mine!

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Having been involved with a number of FALs, they are good for displays of symbolic prestige, but otherwise a pain in the proverbial. Much better to have a single, integrated FAL and test facility. Avoids a lot of headaches and leads to much more effective and efficient working practices

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

By accident or design arriving at night? Assuming that photo is indeed of arrival?

Steven
Guest
Steven

I sure the cooler night air and lack of brutal sunlight reduces stress on both pilot and aircraft on such a long flight.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

so does auto pilot.

trackback

[…] Read More Here… […]

Fred Mason
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Fred Mason

“Battle of Medway”?, God forbid it ever comes to that!

Rob Collinson
Guest
Rob Collinson

Woooooooooppppppppeeeeeeeeeee

Why some seem to be knocking this I am unsure?

This is a good day. Bask in it! Take in the sun!

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Good day indeed

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

I read that F-35 before LRIP 6, are too expensive/difficult to update/upgrade. So 3 of the UK F-35B are probably only suitable for training/trials.

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) JohnHartley – And why 3 will remain at Edwards Air Force Base doing testing as an OEU with 17 Squadron

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Can someone explain why 17 OEU will remain in the US?

Chunkie
Guest
Chunkie

Well somebody’s got to!

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Because the F 35 still does not have an end in sight in being fully combat ready, hundreds of high priority deficiencies listed in this years annual report.

Elliott
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Elliott

Likely the easy access to spare parts and maintenance. Along with good flying weather and no waiting on congested airspace to clear. Combined with the isolation and security of the Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin Deserts. Hence why so many weapons tests and aircraft testing occurs there.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks both.

George
Guest
George

Wonderful news folks. Let’s guess how the Mail and Express newspapers will report this news, the usal unfactual rubbish no doubt! I recall both papers recently gave reports that the UK will not be able to match French military capabilities.

Last time I checked, the UK is assisting France in Mali with Chinooks, have 2 new carriers,, f35 fighters and the world’s most advanced Astute class subs to name few.

Harold
Guest
Harold

Are we now or ever likely to be at war with the French? They have larger armed forces. Many need to get over that fact.

Steve M
Guest
Steve M

They do indeed and we seem to complement each other quite well in capability. Size isn’t everything though 😉

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

As the Soviets would have said before they became history “Quantity has a quality all of its own”

Steve
Guest
Steve

luckily we never got to test that theory. The cold war would have been very much quality of NATO vs quantity of warsaw pack.

Peter Crisp
Guest
Peter Crisp

Quantity over quality is only a good idea if you have zero compassion for the people you’re sending into battle in equipment you know to be inferior.
I have a feeling our armed forces would rather have decent kit with a much better chance of survival and I know I would if I was going into battle.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Could argue the Soviets had a whisker of qualitive edge with fighter aircraft at certain periods in the Cold War with the mig-21 & 29 and the Su-27.

Steve
Guest
Steve

i don’t think it’s as simple as a question of putting men at risk. if you line up a lot of gear /troops against a few with better gear, which loses more men when the dust settles, who knows.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

interesting point. quality over quantity, what does the M.O.D want? shiny f 35’3 or grippens/rafales? cheaper and far faster to produce the need for’all the latest, ‘bells and whistles’ has increased the cost of projects resulting in lower orders.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Exactly-the British Army in Napoleons time was much smaller than the French! the rest i am sure you all know :)….

Sceptical Richard
Guest
Sceptical Richard

Errr… yeah, but they had the Prussians, Dutch, some Spanish and Portuguese and a few others on their side also…. Not trying to make a conclusive point for one argument or the other, just stating a fact

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

in the boer wars we had to start a new army, the soldiers were from the indian kashmiri wars.

Mark Latchford
Guest
Mark Latchford

Who on here is suggesting we have a war with the French Harold? I think that’s only in your own head old chap.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Bingo. Takes offense at everything that chap.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

how about the spanish harold? keep them away from gib.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

You are a bit of a cantankerous old git, arent you ?
Who appointed you post assessor ?

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Guys take a step back and look what Trolls can do here – ‘Harold’ has deftly turned two innocent comments in this Thread into bitchy arguments totally devoid of any relationship to the main article. 1. ‘Kicking arse’ and 2. ‘War with the French’
Trolls are not idiots. They are very clever manipulators and have a ready supply of trigger phrases. Ignore them and discuss Defence please

As someone once observed:
“Feedeth not the Trolls”

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

excellent post.

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

not me, i think he’s a naturally confrontational oaf. is he a troll?

David Nicholls
Guest
David Nicholls

Will future new deliveries of F35Bs for UK now come directly to Marham, rather than to US bases?

With 617 having 9 a/c in place it would seem that the basis for a limited crisis deployment of QE with an airgroup exists now, given that the original airgroup of Invincible was 5 Sea Harriers (plus helos).

Steve
Guest
Steve

The question is integration of uk weapons. From what I understand we have brought some US air-to-air missiles to cover the initial deployment, but what about ground attack weapons which are ultimately the most key part?

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Steve – Your understandable question slightly misses the point of what the RAF are putting together. Next year the Typhoon becomes the main Ground Attack platform (as well its other multi role capabilities). It will carry a weight, complexity and range of new and upgraded weapons few aircraft will be able to match. However the key advantage of having the F-35 is that it can act as a lighter armed stealthy suppression and targeting platform targeting (and apparently even launching) larger weapons from stand off Typhoons. Its why two Typhoons have been in the USA developing the data… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

The reason for buying the f35b rather than the more capable f35a is so we have something to use on our carriers. If the typhoons are available and in range for a conflict, the carriers are expensive PR items/white elephants and have zero military use. For the carriers to be useful, the f35b need to be able to act in isolation and that means undertaking air-to-air and more importantly in a realistic warfare situation air-to-ground. The event of a near peer war where day one attacks are lead by the f35b is a bit far fetched and realistically would be… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

The other advantage of the f35b is the car park airfield idea, which again would write off the typhoons.

Relying solely on slow moving non-stealthy glide missiles launched from range from typhoon is not realistically going to work. The best option would be to get a f35b behind the line and drop missiles from very close to the air defence, so they have no time to react.

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Steve – I was answering your particular question on one aspect of the F-35 – weapons. I was not giving a resume of all the reasons we have bought the F-35 and why the ‘B’ version. As you say, and indeed I have many times, the F-35B offers us three main assets; 5th Gen carrier strike at low cost; STOVL actions developed from the Harrier (CAS and inhospitable operating areas); the use of its ‘stealth’ to penetrate, suppress and prepare hostile areas for other air assets to deliver whatever is required. Operating F-35B with Typhoons is an option… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

My point is you have listed 3 roles, which they can currently only do one of them and even then in a rather limited way. It won’t be for another decade or more before they can do the other 2 roles. Of the 3 roles, which is the one that we have no needed in the last 60 years and which is the one that they can actually do… Integration with pathway and brimstone should have been a day one task, worked on as part of being a tar 1 partner and so planes coming off the factory should have… Read more »

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

good to hear they were flown by british pilots, land them at culdrose, that way it’ll be nearer to the coastto embark on the Q.E when she’s loaded up ready for work.?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

at the moment, and for a while now we’ve used cyprus as our aircraft carrier, the poor old tornado’s are held together by string and duct tape.the sooner the typhoon can be relocated thre the better. i’d like a full squadron of archers, fitted with the 20mm cannon they were designed for deployed to gibraltar, a well drilled archer squadron coul do a good job on the anti piracy task to avoid much needed front line ships being diverted to the task.6 type 31’s based in gibraltar, a full squadron of typhoon at the falklands would be nice, sorry, got… Read more »

Bill
Guest
Bill

There’s going to be a lot of bored F35 pilots over the next five years waiting to get a ride in one. As a tier 1 partner and with two AC’s on the horizon ‘standing up’ individual squadrons years apart makes little sense militarily and the initial order should have been fulfilled two years earlier. Money l hear you say. Deliveries. Again as a tier 1 partner swifter deliveries should have been obtained. Money is always a problem but £550m was found to ‘upgrade’ RAF Marham. £550m?!! We will have these ridiculous 65,000 behemoths waltzing around with less aircraft than… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Bill – I was tempted to ignore your biased and even simplistic view but for the sake of others your false statements need correcting. The UK Government took the very wise view that costs of buying the F-35 will dramatically reduce with later LRIP runs and even more so with full production. So they have held back and just bought what was needed to a) test and evaluate the aircraft and b) train ground and flight crews. It also coiuncided with the QE build, trials and development schedule There was another factor that suited this policy and that… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Chris is right in his comment but another important factor is the simple fact that the F-35 is not ready yet, so why people are complaining we don’t have enough is beyond me. There seems to be a willful ignorance in the UK defence and mainstream media regarding the F-35, in the last DOT&E report, as of January 2018 the F-35 has 966 open deficiencies, yes that’s just under a 1000 defects after 17 years of testing and continual redesign, 111 of those were category 1 deficiencies. The DOD has agrees to pay and fix all of the 111 category… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

I think the main concern is alignment with the carriers. Whilst getting the problems ironed out is essential, having 2 carriers with a handful of jets looks embarrassing. How much of that could have been avoided with some better budgeting and planning on when each part will enter service, who knows, but I suspect a little. It seems to me there it was never setup for the carriers to enter service at the same time as having a decent number of f35b and the design problems have just made this gap larger.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Yeah I think alignment & integration with the carriers can be done at the current buy rate easily. If we had more unfinished aircraft at the minute it would create a bigger outlay further down the line when they need taken apart and refitted with redesigned parts etc. Also I’m pretty sure the tire problem has not yet been rectified by Dunlop, that has actually been one of the main F-35b problems, the tire is meant to have a lifespan of 25 landings, but it has been well below 10 for years and every year Dunlop produce another new tire… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Solesurvivor – Again a very detailed comment and I was sadly nodding along in agreement. The only aspect I would add is that by 2035 Team Tempest should be delivering some early prototypes. They will have seen how appalling the F-35 programme has been handled by the Americans and its consequent elapsed timeframe. Not too dissimilar to Typhoon’s early days! its a perfect example of how not to do it and its failings should be printed on posters displayed around offices, workshops and canteens at wherever Team Tempest is based. The F-35 shows our idea of building a… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Yeah I agree Chris, the F-35 program has been a disaster I just hope the problems are fixed and it reaches it’s full potential. The tempest needs to be exactly that, Britain, Italy and Sweden, designing an air superiority fighter with multi role capabilities to replace Typhoon. It’s a shame that a perfect power projection/ carrier strike capability is just fantasy at the minute with talk of Tempest complimenting the F-35b (although I would have that the other way round) from a carrier 20 years down the road. Our fantasy is US reality with Super Hornet and F-35c around the… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) SoleSurvivor – All my comments are in the context of UK operations and how the F-35 mess affect us. What the Yanks throw their huge amount of Dollars at is irrelevant to the UK, especially given it is all Pork Barrel Politics in the USA anyway, other than if we can take a slice of the action as we have with F-35. Its worth recalling the UK will gain more from what we make for the F-35 programme than it will cost us buying 138 F-35B. As to the carrier programme we really must keep in context where… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

I think if the US cuts its order of the F-35, the USAF have already mentioned cutting 600, that would affect us with unit costs etc. It’s not like the US does not have form for just cancelling a project and moving onto the next (F-22) So i think it’s wise to keep a small eye on what’s going on over there. I think there was lots of politics behind the scenes going on with the MoD and the aircraft carrier alliance at the time, why would fitting CATOBAR, which was designed to built into the class anyway as the… Read more »

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

‘hank the yank’ needs to pull his finger out and get our f 35’s built faster! how many f 35b’s do we actually have?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

if they got sent to the falklands, then, they’d really know what bored means!!!

Steve
Guest
Steve

I wonder of the thousand issues how many are show stoppers. I doubt there is a single gadget out there that doesn’t have some major flaws but which most can either be worked around or simply ignored. I suspect the tornado and typhoon still have hundreds of issues that the MOD have decided are jsut not worth fixing. It will be a while before we know how effective the first deployments are for the US but I doubt too long, as I expect to see them dropping bombs over some low tech country in the next decade for sure and… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

A 111, it’s on the sentence below where you’ve got a 1000 from ?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

have a google at AMARG inventory, the reactivation and maintenance airbase in arizona, given the paltry£116 mill we got for 72 aircraft, i bet a squadron of f 15’s and f 16’s wouldn’t break the bank over 300 f 15’s , a squadron at mount pleasant and gibraltar would be a great move.

Julian1
Guest
Julian1

Does anybody know what the total complement of aircraft will be for 617 by IOC at the end of the year? When will the next airframes be delivered?

dadsarmy
Guest
dadsarmy

Good news.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Tonight on the One Show on BBC. Dan Snow behind the scenes at Marham with F35.
It may well be crap but I think Snow is pretty sensible at least.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Dan snow and his dad are legends, Dan’s twitter posts are amazing for history buffs.

Thanks for the heads up will watch that ?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Exactly. He loves his history. Like us. 🙂

Helions
Guest
Helions

Sadly, I think both of our Gen 6 prototypes will be flying by the time the F35 is sorted out. Also, Sole, believe it or not the F35B was actually sized to fit the elevators of the Invincibles – even after it was known that they would be retired years before the F35 rolled off the line. Strange but true!

Cheers!

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

I think you could be right there mate, cannot wait to see the f-15x Super Eagle, the F-15 has always been one of fave fighter i’m glad this is happening, 22 missiles as well, packing a hell of punch there. And that’s interesting, could of been originally designed to fit those, then maybe redesigned for your amphibs because I’m sure I read that recently although I could be mistaken.

Helions
Guest
Helions

I’m with you on the F15X Sole, essentially a Gen 4.5 air to air heavyweight that could knock the socks off of 95% of the world’s combat aircraft and at a bargain price. The latest export iterations of the F15 are worlds ahead of the USAF’s legacy C and D models. Without enough F22s and no hope of restarting the line, the USAF is caught in a tight spot as it waits for the Gen 6 follow on to the F22. D*mn Gates anyhow – rotten decision to close the line that we’re paying for now in spades… The only… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

Is it true that the first batch of F-35s couldn’t start after they landed in Marham a few months ago?

Something to do with ALIS?

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

my son is a fitter at marham and everyone is crowing at how good they are, every part of the aircraft are easy to get at. apart from the tyre qualities there’s nothing to this media driven rubbish.