The US F-35 Joint Programme Office has selected the UK to provide global maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) services for F-35 Lightning II air vehicle’s depot-level repairable components.

As part of the assignment, the UK will service and maintain components for European-based F-35 aircraft in North Wales.

The UK Ministry of Defence said that the work will have the potential to unlock more than £2bn of future F-35 support revenue over the programme’s lifetime.

Under the contract, systems including electronic and electrical components, fuel, mechanical and hydraulic systems, and ejection seats for the F-35 aircraft will be maintained and repaired.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This establishes Britain as a hub for all European F35s and is hugely positive news for our high-tech and innovative defence industry.

“Building on the strong foundations of Britain’s pre-eminent and enduring defence partnership with the US, this decision supports British jobs and helps keep Britain safer and more secure.”

The services will be provided as part of a partnership between Defence Electronics & Components Agency (DECA), BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, supported by key F-35 Original Equipment Manufacturers.

"This decision supports British jobs and helps keep Britain safer and more secure."

Northrop Grumman Technology Services Global Sustainment vice-president Steve Hogan said: “MRO&U components are one element of the Northrop Grumman F-35 global sustainment solutions.

“As the US, partner nations, and global customers activate their fleets, Northrop Grumman and the industry team will continue to ensure F-35 Lightning II weapon systems are available for tasking and mission training.”

Set to be operational in early 2018, the MRO&U services will be based at MoD Sealand in northeast Wales.

Image: The F-35B Lightning II. Photo: © Crown copyright.