Three more F-35B aircraft are being delivered to the UK, bringing the fleet to 25 aircraft.
The aircraft are being flown from Texas to RAF Marham (via MCAS Beaufort) and assisted in crossing the Atlantic by a Voyager tanker.
Three more jets will arrive later in 2022 and seven more will arrive in 2023 with an expectation that all of the 47 in the first batch will be delivered by the end of 2025. Note that it would have been 48 if one didn’t crash.
The then First Sea Lord said during a webcast last year that the UK intends to purchase ‘around 60’ F-35B jets and then ‘maybe more up to around 80’ for four deployable squadrons. The total of 80 is welcome news given the speculation the buy could be capped at 48.
A defence insider informed the UK Defence Journal of a live webcast given today by the First Sea Lord.
“The First Sea Lord has just said 60 F-35, then maybe more up to around 80 for 4 deployable squadrons.”
According to the recently released Defence Command Paper titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’, the UK intends to increase the fleet size beyond the 48 F-35 aircraft it has already ordered. You can read more about that by clicking here or clicking the link below.
Since the delivery of the first jet in 2012, the United Kingdom F-35 programme has expanded tremendously. Recently, the UK fleet reached a new milestone, when it crossed the threshold of 10,000 flight hours. This milestone has been nearly 10 years in the making.
In 2012, the first F-35B was delivered to the UK. Here’s a look back at some of the programme’s most significant milestones over the years.