UK to Buy More F-35 Jets, Boost Anti-Terror Budget

Reuters // November 23, 2015

Britain plans to increase the number of stealth fighter jets it can launch from aircraft carriers over the next decade and boost anti-terrorism spending by 30 percent, finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday.

Osborne is due to announce on Wednesday the details of spending cuts which, according to International Monetary Fund data, rank as the most aggressive austerity plan among the world's rich economies between now and 2020.

Ahead of that, the government will on Monday set out a five-year defense strategy.

"We are going to step up the aircraft carrier punch of the United Kingdom. We are going to make sure that when these aircraft carriers are available they are going to have planes that can fly from them in force," Osborne told BBC television.

"By 2023, we will be able to have 24 of these jets, some of the most powerful in the world, the F-35, on the decks of these carriers."

Those will be the first tranche of a total order of 138 of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II jets, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said. Britain had not previously confirmed how many it planned to order or a time scale, but the spokesman said the 24 marked a "substantial acceleration".

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