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.
- Aircraft Variant: F-35B
- Program of Record: 138 Aircraft
- 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
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.
- Royal Air Force Base Marham
- 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