28 Nov 2014

MOD places initial stealth aircraft orders

mod_signSummary: The MOD has placed an initial order with Lockheed Martin for the procurement of four F-35B Lightning II stealth combat aircraft, with further contracts to follow.

The announced contract covers four aircraft with another ten due to follow over the next five years.

Ministers expect that the new aircraft will consolidate the UK’s strength and defence capability for years to come.

UK Minister for Defence, Equipment Support and Technology Philip Dunne said: “Looking to the future, the investment we are making in the F-35 aircraft will ensure we are securing the skies for decades to come, providing the UK with the latest stealth technology and multi-role aircraft capability.”

The contract for the F-35B aircraft forms part of the MOD’s investment in Lightning II over the next five years to procure an initial 14 of these multi-role fifth-generation aircraft, as well as providing support and infrastructure. The contracts will also create job opportunities in both the military and civilian sectors.

Mr Dunne said: “In addition, with the aircraft being supported and operated from RAF Marham, this will create job opportunities for the local community, as well as maintaining its key role as an RAF operating and engineering sustainment base, which will support the military and civilian workforce for years to come.”

The F-35B aircraft features short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) technology, as well as the latest stealth capabilities with intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) technology.

Further contracts will cover the procurement of a range of equipment, including engines. The aircraft will be complete by 2018 following deliveries of the first batch in 2016.

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