The arrival of the UK’s first F35 Lighting II Stealth Fighter Aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in the USA on the 13th Jan 2015. The Aircaft was flown in to Edward’s by Wing Commander Jim Beck ,Officer Commanding for 17(R) Squadron.

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Both air force and navy are buying F-35Bs?

UK Defence Journal



I heard that air force was opted for F-35Cs.Then why revised the plan? Is it because interoperability is the priority?


The F35C is a cat & trap naval version. At one stage cat & traps were going to be used on the new Royal Navy carriers, but the cost of the system was too expensive, so they opted for the F35B which is the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing variant, similar to the Harrier. The F35A is the conventional variant which is the only variant the Royal Air Force would consider apart from the F35B, though there are no current plans for that. The F35Bs will be operated jointly by the RN and RAF and yes I guess it’s… Read more »

Jason Bartlett

The whole order was to be changed to c but due to cost factors in changing the carriers to cats n traps it was changed back b. Both the raf and navy will operate the same planes as they will be run jointly by both.

Jonathan Cole

You save a few million per plane for the C variant, plus you get much more for your money from it. Surely the savings, plus the benefits meant we should have gone for traps? In the future it limits what we buy next as well.

UK Defence Journal

I’m afraid it’s far from that simple, there are too many other associated costs.

Peter Seals

Yes joint operations


They never wanted the F35C always both services wanted B.

The Last gov swaped it to C for both. But then reversed that back to the original B after some months.

Cost the county over 750 million pounds for that little fiasco


The RAF may still acquire some F35 C’s. The Navy has no choice as the B is the only aircraft that will operate from the QE’s as configured(without cats and traps). Whilst interoperability would be compromised by a mix of C’s and B’s, the upside is the significantly better all round performance of the C on land. The B gives the flexibility of STOVL-a point often overlooked by it’s critics but will obviously sacrifice some performance for this feature.