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The first of the UK’s next generation stealth combat aircraft has today been handed over to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas. British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond formally accepted the first jet which will be known as Lightning II. The aircraft are Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
Assembly of the first new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier for the Royal Navy has marked another milestone at Rosyth, as the third massive Super Block (SB03) and second Lower Block (LB02) are positioned at one location, as part of the Assembly Cycle B – the second of three cycles undertaken by prime contractor Babcock.
In a much awaited announcement, the United Kingdom has decided to reverse its previous selection and will now focus its efforts on acquiring the Lockheed Martin F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft instead of the conventional F-35C naval model of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
The classified MOD report leaked by the Daily Telegraph casts shadows on the capability of the F-35B to meet the requirements set by the military. The documents stated that in order to fulfill the entire mission requirements met by 97 F-35C, MOD will have to buy 136 F-35B STOVL ‘jump jets’, at an extra cost of £2.4 billion. Nevertheless, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to support shifting back to the STOVL variant.
BK-1, the United Kingdom’s first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II production aircraft, flew its inaugural flight Friday. Lockheed Martin test pilot Bill Gigliotti took the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet through a series of functional flight checks during a sortie that lasted 45 minutes.
The U.K. decision to select the carrier based F-35C instead of the Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B variant would require major redesign of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier currently under construction. Even the increasing cost of the F-35B dwarfs, compared to the $1.9 billion cost increase required for the new carrier modification.
A project for the construction of two new aircraft carriers was launched today (July 3, 2008) with the signature of contracts worth around £3...