The UK's third F-35 Lightning II aircraft takes off from Lockheed Martin's facility near Fort Worth in Texas [Picture: Master Sergeant Randy A Crites USMC (Retd)]
27 June 2013 Ministry of Defence
The third of the UK's F-35 short take-off and vertical landing Lightning II aircraft has arrived at Eglin US Air Force Base in Florida.
The aircraft will be used for pilot and maintainer training for the UK team currently based in the USA. At Eglin, pilots from the Royal Navy and RAF and ground crew are working alongside their US Marine Corps colleagues learning all they can about maintaining the aircraft and how to fly the platforms to get the best out of them.
Group Captain Harv Smyth, the UK’s Joint Strike Fighter National Deputy, said:
Today’s arrival of ‘BK-3’ is the latest step in delivering the F-35’s unprecedented capability to UK Defence.
With each passing day our Lightning II programme is maturing. In less than a year we have taken ownership of our first 3 aircraft and begun both pilot and engineer training.
The Lightning II truly represents a turning point for the UK’s combat air capability and will dramatically increase our ability to defend national sovereignty interests and ensure security around the globe.
The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility. More than 500 British suppliers will build 15% of each F-35 produced.
UK industry is responsible for numerous F-35 components including the aft fuselage, fuel system and crew escape system.