Welcome to live coverage of the arrival of the first four British F-35 jets in the United Kingdom as they fly from the United States. It is understood that the jets will be supported on the move by Voyager tankers.
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British F-35 initial operational capability is scheduled will be declared in December 2018 for land and the from the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers in 2020. The potential for cooperation between the United Kingdom and coalition forces all using the F-35 variants is significant, in terms of coalition warfare the F-35 further increases the situational awareness of all parties to a greater extent than anything flying today, resulting in a quantum leap in capability for coalition forces.
Such is the aircrafts sensor and data fusion capabilities, a small number of F-35s could provide the UK and her coalition allies with situational awareness within defended airspace where platforms such as E-3 AWACS and E-8 JSTARS would be unable to operate. F-35s could find and designate priority targets within defended airspace for a less stealthy fleet to attack from a relatively safe distance, further enhancing coalition capability.
The F-35B will drastically increase the situational awareness of the forces with which it will deploy and for the UK, where deployed numbers may be a concern, it represents a fantastic way to enhance combat capability in any coalition or national effort.
- Four of the jets are currently over the Atlantic
- Voyager and Atlas aircraft are supporting
- Aircraft are expected this evening