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 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+,000
  • Value: 15% of the value of the 3,000+ jets planned will be built in the UK

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 (IOC(L))
  • 2018: First of Class Flight Trials (FoCFT) on HMS Queen Elizabeth (QNLZ)
  • 2019: First Training and Operational Deployment to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus
  • 2019: Maritime Operational Test (OT) on HMS QNLZ
  • 2020:First Aircraft Arrival (FAA) 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