Coming from America: F-35s to visit UK

So, it’s official: the F-35 will be making its debut international show appearances in the UK this summer.

We had been hearing rumours about this for quite a while from industry, but I wasn’t sure that it would actually happen, due to the tough schedule with getting the short take-off and vertical landing “B” up and ready to achieve initial operating capability with the US Marine Corps during 2015.

Confirmation of the F-35B’s participation at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough air show in three months’ time came last week, as reported on flightglobal’s defence channel. The US Air Force image below shows a USMC example being flown in STOVL mode by Royal Air Force Sqn Ldr Hugh Nichols at Eglin AFB in February this year.

F-35B STOVL

The following day, RIAT’s organisers revealed that a trio of STOVL jets will be arriving at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire ahead of the 11-13 July show: “two from the US Marine Corps and one destined for the UK”. As with previous appearances involving the F-22 Raptor, they will remain at the USAF-run site throughout their extended stay, with one example to make the short journey to appear at the Hampshire show.

Farnborough International says the F-35B “will be making demonstration flights at both [the] trade show and the public weekend”, which is great news for anyone planning to attend the latter stages of the event: by the time the fee-paying public pitched up in 2012 popular types like the A400M and 787 had already left.

After covering many shows with fairly underwhelming F-35 reporting prospects, it’s great news that we’ll be seeing the type in the air at RIAT and Farnborough. Many eyes will be watching every move, so Lockheed Martin, the US Department of Defense and UK Ministry of Defence must hope that all goes to plan and that the type’s reliability is robust enough to not make headlines for any of the wrong reasons.

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4 Responses to Coming from America: F-35s to visit UK

  1. Ed 22 April, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Do you think that the F35 will be over in time to make a fly past of HMS Queen Elizabeth on her launch on 4th July??

    • Craig Hoyle 22 April, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Not sure on that, as it would mean a very lengthy stay for the three jets, but would be great to see!

      • Ed 23 April, 2014 at 8:54 am #

        Thanks Craig – I guess that we will have to wait and see. Agreed it would be a great sight to see…

  2. Martin Bayliss 25 April, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    USS Queen Elizabeth to be launched on the 4th of July!

    You could not make it up!

    The f35 is fighting for its life. The US is using all means to foist the failed aircraft on gullible assimilated allies in order to kill off their own indigenous military complex.

    However, I am pleased to see the UK has still not placed the order for the first 14 operational units.
    And I note the UK is rather public-ally wheeling the Replica around along with UK sourced stealth technology (active cloaking antennas and digital decoys etc). I also note that now Germany has rather public-ally walked away from the Typhoon program in terms of development BAE has stepped up the Typhoons strike development. Not excluding Taranis of course, which rather neutralises the F35′s claim to stealth supremacy.

    I also note the US is stoking a new Cold War with Russia, or at least the military complex is. I doubt it will work, the Russians have tasted Western trade and commerce and travelled widely. And the US is too weak these days to bully its allies into joining the deamonisation of Russia. Your average US citizen is too jaded from expensive and pointless wars to support corporate Americas attempts to create international tension justifying massive defence expenditure. In good time Putin will go and Russia will eventually join the family of free trading nations, the attempts by some to Gide them into a new Cold War is only a temporary stumbling block.

    This temporary stumbling block highlights why the West must have the best combat aircraft it needs, not some political Frankenstein of an aircraft (the f35) leaving it vulnerable to 40 year old fighters of any nation you care to mention.

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