Skip to comments.UK to approve bulk F-35B buy in 2017
Posted on 02/13/2014 5:43:51 AM PST by Smartisan
Financial approval for the UK's main procurement of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)/Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) is expected in the next three years, a government minister disclosed on 5 February.
Answering questions in the House of Commons, Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support, and Technology, said that the financial approval for this main buy, known as Main Gate 5, should be granted in 2017.
"The UK F-35 programme is scheduled to seek financial approval for its fifth and final main gate in 2017. At this point the overall cost of the programme will be published," Dunne noted.
With three main gates already passed (Main Gates 1-3 dealt with overall programme strategy and procurement of the initial operational test and evaluation aircraft), Main Gate 4 for the procurement of the first 14 operational aircraft is set to be approved in the coming days.
To date, the UK has received two operational test and evaluation (OT&E) aircraft (BK-1 and BK-2), and one training aircraft (BK-3). Another OT&E aircraft (BK-4) is expected to be signed for in the coming months. Once all have been delivered, BK-1, BK-2, and BK-4 will transfer from Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida to Edwards AFB in California later in 2014, where they will stand up as 17 (Fighter) Squadron for OT&E duties (BK-3 will remain at Eglin AFB as part of the wider training fleet).
The 14 aircraft to be procured under Main Gate 4 will be delivered in 2016 and handed over to 617 'Dambusters' Squadron when it is reactivated at Beaufort Pilot Training Center at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina. At this time BK-3 will also be transferred over to the squadron.
(Excerpt) Read more at janes.com ...