Britain has officially accepted the first F-35 Lightning II aircraft in a ceremony held in the USA. UK defence secretary Philip Hammond and US undersecretary of defense for acquisition Frank Kendall represented the two nations.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Lockheed Martin chairman and chief executive officer Bob Stevens said: “We are here to celebrate an important ‘first’ among so many milestones associated with the F-35 program. It’s fitting that our first delivery to an international partner is to the United Kingdom, because without sustained British innovation over many generations, we would not have an event to celebrate today.”
The RAF and the Royal Navy will now commence flight trials of the aircraft.
Earlier in the year government ministers were criticised for their decision to revert back to plans by the former Labour government, to buy the jump-jet variant, the F-35B.