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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.

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

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 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 21,000 jobs across every region of the United Kingdom.

The fingerprints of British ingenuity can be found on dozens of the aircrafts key components. BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Martin-Baker, Leonardo  Cobham, 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.

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: F-35 takes center stage at RAF 100 celebration
  • 2018: UK completes weapons flight testing
  • 2018: UK flexes carrier strike sea legs aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth
  • 2018: UK MoD declares F-35 land IOC 
  • 2018: First of Class Flight Trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth
  • 2019: First Training and Operational Deployment to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus
  • 2019: Maritime Operational Test on HMS QNLZ
  • 2020: First Aircraft Arrival on the HMS QNLZ
  • 2020: Group Exercise with a Joint Work-Up with UK 617 SQN (Dambusters) and USMC VMFA 211 SQN (Wake Island Averngers) on the HMS QNLZ
  • 2020: Royal Navy declares Maritime Initial Operational Capability