UK Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson has announced a new order for the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter. There will be 17 aircraft scheduled for delivery between 2020 and 2022 and part of a $6 billion contract between the British government and the manufacturer.
“I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the largest defense program in history. the F-35 program.This program is set to bring an immense boost of £ 35 billion into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production.”, Williamson said.
The new aircraft will complement the 16 fighters already received, as well as two other units previously ordered. The version chosen by the UK is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the fighter.
The UK accumulates 35 units ordered from a total forecast of 138 aircraft throughout the program. The British F-35B will be operated by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy which is already running trials with the jet aboard the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.