The location and status of Britain’s F-35 fleet has been listed by the Ministry of Defence.

The information came to light in a response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons.

Mark Francois, Member of Parliament for Rayleigh and Wickford, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the (a) location and (b) operational status is of each of the 48 F-35 aircraft on order from Lockheed Martin.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“21 Lightning aircraft have been delivered to the UK by Lockheed-Martin. The remaining 27 aircraft remain at various stages of production.

The location of the 21 delivered aircraft in mid-July 2021 is broken down as follows:

17 Squadron, Edwards AFB USA – Three

207 Squadron, RAF Marham – Eight

617 Squadron embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth – Eight

RAF Marham Maintenance and Finishing Facility – Two”

How many F-35Bs is the UK hoping to purchase?

The First Sea Lord said previously 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.

According to the recently released Defence Command Paper released today 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 this by clicking here.

UK looking at ’60 and then maybe up to 80′ F-35B jets

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George
George
1 month ago

Hi folks hope all are well.
Nice to be kept updated. However I’d like to see more information about the proposed increase in numbers.
HM government needs to be more informative in demonstrating a firm commitment in placing orders for an increase. So far so good.
Cheers,
George

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Absolutely George, they should really get on with it and order more and sooner. Even it’s a block 3.5 or why not bring the block 4 forward? Have the will, find a way.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I’m with the Govt on this one. If this is their strategy…dear LM and US Inc.. no more orders with upgrade contracts to follow….till you are ready and able to supply the product we want and you have been contracted to, and have been developing, for decades. LM and US Inc are milking it.

Darren hall
Darren hall
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

too true

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Couldnt agree more, pointless ordering aircraft to then have to alter them later, spend this years budget on other stuff like new ships and when LM finally release the platforms we want take them out of that years budget.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Theres a suggestion they are withholding orders as a stick to ensure Lockheed progresses weapon integration. After they place an order they lose some of their leverage if the manufacturer decides to reprioritise resources.

Nick C
Nick C
1 month ago

The usual reply from the Minister, with a Delphic statement that there are more in production, but he doesn’t say when they will be delivered. Do we have any inkling as to when 809 squadron will actually be formed, obviously it can’t be at present because there are no aircraft, unless they take some from the trainers at 207.

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick C

Can’t quite recall where I read it but I believe the final deliveries of the 48 on order has slipped by a year or 2 which means 809 NAS won’t now stand up until 2025 (it was 2023).

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

They have slipped due to the issues that LM are having with the rollout of Blk4 software, throwing Turkey out of the programme (parts due to be manufactured by Turkey need sourcing elsewhere) and current issues P&W are having with engine reliability to name but a few!

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Incorrect. The last batch was slipped by the UK by one year as a cost saving measure.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron5

There is that too!!

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Yes

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago

It’s a mess which ever way you look at it.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Im intrigued, whys it a mess?

David A
David A
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Maybe he’s looking at it from a different angle than the rest of us. To me it seems like it’s relatively well planned out for once.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  David A

Me too, possibly a slight slow down of inervening numbers but end state should be the same.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Personally I think F35 is progressing slowly but surely, which is fine by me when an undertaking as complex as reintroducing carrier fixed wing capabilities is involved.

What’s the rush with BIV integration costs?

The fleet is evenly split between the OCU and 1st operational squadron.

Tim
Tim
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Why ?

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark F

Why order early batch less capable and more expensive aircraft earlier than take more capable cheaper aircraft a little later?

The ordering is bang on with this im afraid.

Ambivalent Lurker
Ambivalent Lurker
1 month ago

ZM156, the 22nd F35B for the UK is currently undergoing its flight testing at Lockheed Martin in the US, which suggests that the fleet at Marham will be growing this year as there are (I believe) another 5 UK airframes slated for delivery in 2021 as part of the overall fleet size growing and NAS 809 reforming next year : https://www.f-16.net/g3/f-35-photos/album502/album521/ZM156

Last edited 1 month ago by Ambivalent Lurker
Geoffi
Geoffi
1 month ago

Nice that Francois is keeping the Government under pressure about the state of our Armed Forces…

John Hampson
John Hampson
1 month ago

It is time the unquestioning supporters of the F-35 started to recognise the serious problems rather than just regurgitating Lockheed’s propaganda. On 7 July the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that concluded if current costs continue the US will be unable to operate the F-35 at numbers planned and required. Even allowing for the cost reductions already achieved the GAO report concludes,quote. “the service’s only available remaining options to meet the affordability constraints are to reduce the total number of F-35A aircraft they plan to purchase, or to reduce the aircraft’s planned flying hours.” The GAO report… Read more »

andy a
andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hampson

Think we need to realise especially if US cuts orders it will drive our costs sky high. Maybe we need to realise F35 will be speciallity aircraft hopefully lanca/mosquito loyal wingman will fill the gaps. 1 F35 with 3 drones maybe. I refuse to believe the cousins havent got a top end jet drone already flying at skunk works.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago

More Important issue that is still being ignored, HOW MANY PILOTS DO WE HAVE TRAINED.

never gets answered last count it was guestimated 11.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

Way more than that, where did you get that figure from, its actualy nearer 30 plus.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Currently the last guestimate from the National Audit office is or was 14. Based on Red Flag USA UK sent 5 F35s with 10 pilots in play. 3 Pilots completed their carrier ops on QE in the north sea. now allowing for the pilots based in the USA. the 3 final pilots were the last in the chain. As the NAO confirms the RAF is so far behind on its training program and its taking longer. IF THE UK HAD 30 pilots ready why is there only 10 on the QE NOW. we would have no need for the USMC.… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

Does the NAO do guestimates? Wow that’s hardly scientific. So if there were 11, (although you now say 14, but let’s stick with your 11 for now) and you say 10 are on the QE, you are now telling me there is just 1 pilot sat at Marham, and there are no IPs taking any sort of training or any trained F35 pilots left in the UK? Sorry Johan your own figures confirm that having just 11 trained pilots isn’t realistic at this time. Now I’m just Army, and a casual observer to the F35 saga, but to have just… Read more »

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

The major factor in having the amount of F35’s we do is a combination of money and very sensibly waiting for the next batch upgrade to be available on the planes before taking them.

We didnt put more aircraft on the QE for a number of a reasons, one of those is training itself and keeping aircraft based in the UK for people to train on.

The numbers you are making up are just that, made up.

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago

We know what the delivery schedule is – 20 by end 2020 – 7 in 2021, the first of which delivered – 8 in 2022 – 7 in 2023 and one assumes the final 6 of the 48 order in 2024.. All seems to be proceeding to plan so far. I think it was said that 809 squadron would not stand up until 2024, not 2023, due to RN pilot recruitment and training time. That ties in fine with the delivery schedule. It makes sense not to rush ahead ordering more until LM sorts out some of the big issues… Read more »