UK could purchase only half of planned F-35 fighter jets

26 August 2020 (Last Updated August 26th, 2020 11:55)

The UK could reportedly purchase only half of the 138 F-35B Lightning II fighter jets that the country has planned to buy over the course of the programme, according to The Times. 

UK could purchase only half of planned F-35 fighter jets
F-35B Lightning II fighter jet. Credit: © Crown.

The UK could reportedly purchase only half of the 138 F-35B Lightning II fighter jets that the country has planned to buy over the course of the programme, according to The Times. 

Sources close to the UK Government’s defence review were quoted by the publication as saying that the plans are “unlikely to be fulfilled”. 

The F-35 short take-off and vertical landing variant is being purchased for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy.  

The jets will operate from the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. 

The UK will procure 48 jets at a total value of £9.1bn by the end of 2025.  

In May this year, US Republican senators were reportedly seeking to deter the stationing of 48 F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft in the UK.  

In a separate development, Korea has planned to increase the number of F-35 stealth fighter jets it has planned to procure, reported Korea JoongAng Daily quoting military sources.  

Korea will acquire 40 F-35 jets, built by Lockheed Martin, for around KRW8tn ($6.7bn).  

Earlier this month, US Air Force (USAF) 356th Fighter Squadron (FS) and 388th Fighter Wing’s (FW) F-35A Lightning II aircraft participated in the Red Flag-Alaska (RF-A) exercise in the Alaskan skies.  

In July, USAF Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska accepted the delivery of three new F-35A Lightning II jets

In December last year, USAF’s Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah received its final F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft