The UK has confirmed that it will purchase a second tranche of F-35B jets in addition to the 48 already planned.
The UK currently has 21 of the jets with 48 orders being confirmed.
John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne Commons, asked via a written Parliamtary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when his Department plans to decide on the number of Lightning II F-35 aircraft to order in addition to those aircraft already ordered.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, replied:
“Following the outcome of the Integrated Review and confirmation that the UK Lightning Force will grow beyond 48 F-35B aircraft, we are undertaking a period of further analysis to evaluate the scale and optimum delivery profile of our second tranche of F-35Bs as well as associated infrastructure and support equipment. Once complete, this activity will inform procurement timelines.”
The First Sea Lord recently said during a webcast that the UK intends to purchase ‘around 60’ F-35B jets and then ‘maybe more up to around 80’ for four deployable squadrons.
A defence insider informed the UK Defence Journal of a live wbecast given 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.”
We knew that the UK planned to increase the F-35B fleet due to the recently released Defence Command Paper titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’, which states that the UK intends to increase the fleet size beyond the 48 F-35 aircraft it has already ordered but we now know they’ll be F-35Bs.