More than 260 F-35s are now flying from 14 bases around the world and we look forward to supporting the UK’s Lightning Force, as they prepare to bring their F-35s to the UK and achieve initial operational capability next year

Peter Ruddock, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK

There are currently some 200 British personnel based at Beaufort testing the aircraft and getting them ready to arrive in the UK next summer as 617 Squadron. Preparations are also being made for First of Class Flight Trials, due to take place on HMS Queen Elizabeth later next year. 

The programme is on schedule to achieve Initial Operating Capability from land next year with Initial Operating Capability Carrier Strike in 2020.

In 2018, the aircraft – along with the Navy and RAF pilots and ground crew – will arrive in the UK to officially stand up at RAF Marham in Norfolk.  RAF Marham will be the Main Operating Base for the Lightning Force in the UK and from here, they will deploy forward to either embark the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, or operate from deployed operating bases.

UK industry will provide approximately 15 percent by value of each F-35 to be built, which are due to total more than 3,000 in number.