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.

89 COMMENTS

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

      • 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?

        • 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.

        • 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 of war. He/she is simply excited (rightly so) that a bloody fine ship will soon traverse the seven seas as she was meant to.

          • Battle of Medway

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

          • 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

        • 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 !!

          • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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 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!

      • 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

  1. Woooooooooppppppppeeeeeeeeeee

    Why some seem to be knocking this I am unsure?

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

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

        • 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.

        • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

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

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

          • 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.

          • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

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

          • 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

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

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

        • (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”

  4. 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).

    • 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 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 transfer systems and working up SOPs with the F-35.

        F-35 is the enabler for the big punch of the Typhoon as having a large weapon set on wing pylons on an F-35 actually defeats the object of ‘stealth’.

        • 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 supported by the US. Who incidently indicated that carriers couldn’t be used in a day 1 situation due to their inherent weakness to subs and shore based missiles.

          I don’t get the current planning. I read ground attack integration would happen with spear 5, which is due in the mid 2030s.

          • 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 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 not its ‘raison d’etre’ and its not what I had written. And if we need QRA and air combat the Typhoon is again the asset of choice not the F-35B. IMHO its a very credible and useful asset that compliments the Typhoon which (apart from STOVL) is way ahead of the F-35B in every other facet except for sensor suites. Its the right aircraft at the right time for the UK.

          • 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 this already implemented.

    • 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.?

    • 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 to go back to the real world now and take my medication!

  5. 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 a lusty and will project no more power until we get 3 NAS squadrons stood up with 2 for the RAF. Another few years for that.
    A lot of bored pilots.

    • (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 was the need for the USMC to get to IOC with the ‘B’ ASAP (for political as much as military reasons) so we have ‘stepped aside’ to allow them to have most of the production capacity. An agreement that befitted both parties. In return the USMC have given a written guarantee to support carrier operations under British command at least until we have all our aircraft but IMHO it will be a permanent arrangement. So setting aside the semantics of ‘American’ aircraft being used to certify and test QE fixed wing Ops we can expect at least a full USMC Squadron of F-35Bs on board QE at any time. There will be on board competition and banter and both Forces will be better for it

      To describe the QEs as ‘ridiculous’ says all we need to know about your views and experience. Oh and btw – Pilots don’t get bored ….

    • 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 1 defects before it enters initial operational test and evaluation which is due to start at the end of this year. So as of January next year there will still be 800 odd category 2 deficiencies still to be fixed and whatever category 1 deficiencies that were found in this years last development testing. And this is the last year of development & testing phase because they have gone against all advice and decided to cut it short due to budget constraints and political pressure, they have come up with the continuous capability development and delivery (C2D2) to replace the planned development & test phase.

      And so the more rigorous initial operational test and evaluation begins which lasts 4 years, so 4 years from end of this year is the end of 2022, going off this programs history it is a nigh on certainty that more deficiencies will be found in this time.

      So every single F-35 that has been delivered to customers so far has hundreds of defects, is nowhere near fully combat ready, and will need pricey maintenance to fix all the current and future defects over the next 4+ years.

      The fixes for the current US delivered F-35’s is over $2bn and rising, the earliest delivered aircraft will need that much money and time making them up to scratch they will never get done.

      The recent US F-35b problem report from their USS wasp first deployment has been made classified by the pentagon.

      So we are actually really lucky that they are coming at a slow sensible rate as they finish the aircraft over the next 4 years.

      My own personnel opinion on the Lightning is that it if it was not for politics, money spent and the amount of partners it has, it would of been scrapped 5/10 years ago. I don’t think it will ever be as good as they say it is, far to many problems on a scale never seen before in any fighter program in history, and the majority of it’s main deficiencies involve the stuff people say will make it a “game changer” constant sensor, computer and software malfunctions. So if that is playing up in combat or it is not working all together and it has to fight WVR it is no better than legacy aircraft, in fact it is inferior.

      At this current point in time, a Typhoon would run rings round it, play with it for a little while and then put it out its misery.

      • 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.

        • 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 and it fails.

          Everything with the F-35b at the minute needs to be done at a snails pace while these and other problems are fixed.

      • (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 new stealthy airframe around systems and weapons already proven in Typhoon (and who knows some from F-35 given the UK wrote so much of the later software) is absolutely the progressive and right way to deliver this key aircraft.

        Forgive my banging my favourite drum but it also perfectly demonstrates why we should keep the Germans, French and Yanks miles away from Tempest. We need a small tightly focused team of people who know what they are trying to achieve without the never ending international, political and inter service rivalries: An Anglo / Italian (maybe with Sweden) 5.5 Gen aircraft for the RAF to replace Typhoon by 2040 and whoever else wants to buy it. And if the QEs are retro fitted with CATOBAR in their mid life refits in 2040+ then its also an ideal aircraft for the FAA to complement their F-35s

        • 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 corner, I still maintain that the F-35b is not be a great strike aircraft against near or p2p opposition. Poor range, poor amount of payload, poor speed, poor maneuverability.

          If we just look at the whats happening in the US, the F-35c was meant to replace the F-18 Hornet but the US Navy has just ordered 116 new block 3 Hornets and is upgrading it’s existing 500, not only that but a new replacement for the F-18 is under way with the F/A-XX program, it’s now known that the F-35c will only ever “compliment” the F-18 & future F/A-XX.

          The F-35a was meant to replace the F-15 & F-16, while it will be replacing the F-16 Boeing and the USAF have just pitched a brand new F-15 replacement called the F-15x Super Eagle, apparently it is not going to disrupt the large F-35a purchase and it will compliment it but nothing is certain.

          The only version that seems to be doing what it set out to do is the F-35b, it is far superior to the Harrier and big step up in capability.

          And that’s what makes me sad about all this, our latest fighter jet is designed for the US marines, even its size is designed to fit in their amphib ships. The F-35b is designed for CAS and limited strike for the US marines, and even at that it’s not the worlds best at CAS, the USAF rejected it for the A10 replacement because of poor sortie rates.

          I am bashing the F-35b here a bit so i will also say I am still glad it’s coming to us, because something is a hell of a lot better than nothing, it will still easily do a great job operating from the QEC, and it is versatile so can do what the harrier did and forward base etc, if it does reach it’s potential it should be able beat legacy aircraft in the air in BVR, so it’s not all doom and gloom, it just could of been so, so much better with CATOBAR for QEC, naval Typhoon and the superior F-35c with some Growlers and E-2 Hawkeyes thrown in for a carrier strike package that matches the Americans, but that ship has sailed and we have what we have.

          On the QEC refit, it might just be STOBAR, so just arresting wires needed. Although CATOBAR would be preferred as then we could have some proper EW & AEW aircraft like the Growler & Hawkeye, as that’s another point, while the F-35 can do radar jamming for other aircraft and itself, it’s in its nose, where as dedicated EW aircraft like the Growler has under wing pods that can do front and rear radar jamming, plus the F-35 loses most of it’s stealth at the rear, so god help the F-35b on it’s way back if it’s got something bearing down on it.

          • (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 this country was economically (no blame game here) in 2010, where the EMALS programme was (and still is) and what could be delivered on time and to budget. Some hard choices were made on Defence to ensure we kept the two carriers. For me CATOBAR really was not an option even if we did spend a fortune re-assessing it as a) steam was not an option and b) we had the electric power but despite Converteam’s best efforts it was all unproven, uncosted and basically un-deliverable. You think the F-35 programme is in a state look at the USS Gerald R Ford programme. Not even serviceable until 2022 at the earliest with a long list of operational failures

            I have an inkling the QE will turn out to be an eye opener to the US Navy and will show you can deliver 5th Gen capability off a large carrier for a reasonable amount of money. 2 x QEs @ $10 Bn vs 1 x Ford @ $18 Bn (and counting).

            Oh and a naval Typhoon was never on the cards ….

          • 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 third french carrier was always going to have it, being costed at enormous prices. The US offered a proven design for £890mn per ship, at that stage of POW construction at least one was affordable, considering the hundreds of millions wasted on delays and u turns. Also it has come to light the MoD did not even consider another option, ICCALS which at £500m for both ships was entirely feasible.

            Yeah I agree the QEC design has the potential to be a game changer. At the cost and capability and innovative design features, it will be the envy of many navies.

            And yeah naval Typhoon was never on the cards but that doesn’t mean it could not have been easily done, converting an existing proven aircraft wouldn’t be hard. I’m also thinking of capability, a multi role air superiority fighter from an aircraft carrier is the zenith aircraft carrier capability, and is proper power projection. But like I said before that’s all in the past.

            Let’s just hope Team Tempest does the business, very high hopes for that.

    • ‘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?

  6. 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 probably a lot sooner. This is their real role and one that the UK will use them heavily for, once ready.

    • 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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 real option here is replacing the C / D fleet with new variations and holding tight for a decade. F22s and 35s will have to be the penetrators and the rest of the fleet will be clean up…

        That little trivia fact on the “B” model sizing was actually from a journal article discussing the contradictions of the F35 program several years back. I have no doubt that the design has been modified several times since inception to better suit the big deck amphibs – specifically the first 2 America class LHAs – America and Tripoli are aviation centric without well decks although the 3rd of the class Bougainville and follow ons have them.

        If I were the suspicious type – oh wait! I AM – I would say those first two were specifically meant to provide F35B light carriers dedicated to the USMC because the USN understood that the the CVNs might be too busy fighting in the battle fleet in a future conflict to provide air cover for USMC ops. Each one can carry and support 3 full squadrons in a pinch I believe…

        Cheers!

  10. 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?

    • 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.

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