United Kingdom

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United Kingdom

A Legacy of Innovation

The Royal Air Force and Royal Navy plan to operate 138 F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft. Their training took place at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, where British pilots and maintainers were embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps and their fleet of F-35Bs. The first F-35 squadron, 617 Sqn ‘Dambusters’, arrived at RAF Marham with their first four aircraft in June 2018, and the 207 Squadron, the UK’s Operational Conversion Unit, was stood up there in 2019.

Program Stats
  • Aircraft Variant: F-35B
  • Program of Record: 138 Aircraft
Economic Impact
  • Suppliers: 100+ Tier 1 with numerous additional sub-tier suppliers filtering throughout the UK economy
  • Jobs Supported: 20,000+
  • Value: 15% of the value of the 3,000+ jets planned will be built in the UK
Industrial Participation

The fingerprints of British ingenuity can be found on dozens of the F-35’s key components. From the Martin-Baker ejection seat, to the Cobham refueling probe, to the BAE Systems-built horizontal tails, every F-35 has British parts incorporated from nose to tail. GE Aviation,  Ultra Electronics, UTC Actuation / Collins Aerospace and Rolls-Royce are just a few of the more than 100 U.K.-based suppliers for the program.

As the program’s only Level 1 partner, the United Kingdom has garnered tremendous economic benefits from the F-35. British industry will build 15 percent by value of each of the more than 3,000 planned F-35s, generating significant export revenue and GDP growth. The program is projected to create and support more than 20,000 jobs across every region of the United Kingdom.

Base Location
  • Royal Air Force Base Marham
Program Milestones
  • 2012: UK's first F-35 delivered from Fort Worth, TX
  • 2014: F-35 pilot completes first UK vertical landing
  • 2016: F-35 makes Europe/UK debut at RIAT & Farnborough
  • 2018: F-35s arrive for permanent basing at RAF Marham
  • 2018: UK completes weapons flight testing
  • 2018: UK MoD declares F-35 land IOC 
  • 2018: First of Class Flight Trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth
  • 2019: 207 Squadron stood up at RAF Marham as the F-35 Lightning Operational Conversion Unit
  • 2020: First Aircraft Arrival on the HMS QNLZ
  • 2020: Royal Navy declares Maritime Initial Operational Capability
  • 2021: F-35s participate in Carrier Strike Group 2021 deployment. It’s the first operational deployment of the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, and the largest single deployment of F-35s in history
  • 2021: F-35Bs from 617 Squadron deploy from HMS Queen Elizabeth to support counter-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria