Mrt 11 2011

Daily Telegraph: UK spending £389m on unneeded F-35B jets

Gepubliceerd door om 18:56 onder Global F35 News

In the United Kingdom James Kirkup of the Daily Telegraph reported about the Ministry of Defence, spending about £389 million on three F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets that will never enter British service.
In October 2010 the Strategic Defence and Security Review scrapped the original plans to buy F-35B aircraft for Britain’s new aircraft carriers. The new Royal Navy carriers will be redesigned for conventional aircraft, meaning there is no need for Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) jet capabilities.
However, the Coalition is still obliged to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the new fighters that will take part in “test and evaluation” exercises in the US, because they signed contracts to obtain early production (LRIP3 and LRIP4 series) F-35B jets and because they signed a Memory of Understanding to participate in the – postponed – Initial Operational Test & Evaluation phase of the F-35.

Daily Telegraph reports that “Ministers are still engaged in a last-ditch attempt to alter the contract with the United States that obliges Britain to buy the aircraft. (….) Instead, ministers said they would buy the F-35C “carrier variant” aircraft. David Cameron said the conventional take-off plane was “more capable, less expensive, has a longer range and carries more weapons”. (…) Three F-35Bs will be bought despite a desperate attempt by the Government to renegotiate the sale contract to buy at least one C-variant jet. Lockheed, one of the US defence contractors building the F-35, revealed in December that the MoD had asked if the third jet order could be switched so that the UK would buy a C-variant aircraft instead of the jet.

According to the Daily Telegraph some inside sources say British ministers are still negotiating with the US government over the third jet: Lord Astor of Hever, a defence minister, told peers that the UK had no choice but to spend millions on jump jets but insisted they would still be valuable. He said: “While we are committed to procuring three F-35B aircraft, at a total of $632?million, to conduct joint test and evaluation with the US armed forces, we will gain substantial benefit from operating these aircraft as a part of the F-35C programme.” Britain’s participation in the test exercises was “vital” to the delivery of the F-35C aircraft, he said.

Source: Daily Telegraph; 10-mar-2011; James Kirkup “MoD to spend £389m on jump jets it does not need

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