United Kingdom’s F-35B

The Lockheed Martin F-35B has recently been acquired by the United Kingdom. The F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-engine, single-seat, all weather stealth multirole fighters. It is currently undergoing final testing and development by the United States. The F-35B variant is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) version of the aircraft. Due to threats such as foreign object damage, the vertical takeoffs and landings are riskier. As of 2014, the F-35B variant is limited to 400 knots and 4.5 g. The maiden test flights of the F-35B was held in June of 2008.

“At the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on 8 July, Air Cdre Linc Taylor, assistant chief of staff for capability delivery, combat air, told reporters that the next Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) could see the UK opt to acquire a mixed fleet of F-35 variants, rather than just the 138 F-35Bs it is currently contracted for,”

reported Beth Stevenson from Flight Global.

“The UK’s last SDSR, released in ¬November 2015, announced that the RAF would acquire the Boeing P-8 ¬Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the British Aerospace Nimrod MR2 after its retirement in 2010,”

Stevenson added.

The airshow has been a great opportunity for the government to reveal any large deals with its United States ally. The remanufacture of the Boeing Company/Westland AH1 Apaches for the Army Air Corps is another significant contract to be signed. The Boeing/Westland AH1 Apaches will be reconfigured into the AH-64E version, which is the same variant that is operated by the United States Army. This deal is anticipated to be worth around $3 billion.

 “Aside from this high-profile display of UK military air power, Cameron’s last air show appearance as prime minister is also expected to see him sign two key contracts for the acquisition of new aircraft, which would represent a significant boost for US manufacturer Boeing’s orderbook,”

said Stevenson.


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