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UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 23:08
by spazsinbad
UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service
16 Feb 2017 Gareth Jennings

"The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed to Jane's that it signed the initial Release to Service (RtS) for the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) on 14 February. The RtS, which sets out the safe operating envelope for the F-35B, is a significant milestone in the UK's programme in that it allows for peacetime training of pilots on the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, including for the first time ab initio students.

Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN) F-35B personnel are currently stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort in South Carolina. With the first US Marine Corps (USMC) ab initio students (dubbed Cat 1 by the service) having entered into training in mid-2016, the syllabus is ready for the first UK students to follow.

To date, the UK has received five test and training aircraft and has 10 operational jets under contract. It has a total requirement for 138 to equip the two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers for the RN, and to augment the Eurofighter Typhoon for the RAF.

In February 2015 the RAF's 17 Reserve Squadron stood up as the operational test and evaluation squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Previously the MoD had briefed that the first operational unit - 617 'Dambusters' Squadron - was due to be formed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort before the end of 2016, prior to being officially stood-up on its arrival in 2018 at its future homebase of RAF Marham in the United Kingdom. However, Jane's has since been informed by the UK Lightning Force that the formation of this unit will now fully take place in 2018.

The RN's 809 'Immortals' Naval Air Squadron, which was to be created as the second unit ahead of the start of sea trials in 2018, will be stood up in 2023
, the UK Lightning Force added...."

Source: http://www.janes.com/article/67775/uk-a ... to-service

Re: UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 23:13
by steve2267
I can't keep straight the UK purchase / requirements. His her majesty, the Queen Bee, purchasing ALL Killer Bees, or are they mixing in any F-35A's for the RAF?

Re: UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 00:13
by spazsinbad
The UK MoD in a Muddle thread has all the info - read from end to backwards for latest info. Every now and the (usually) the RAF ponder some time in future purchasing the F-35A but that is not decided (and also further F-35B purchases) until the far future. For now it will be an all F-35B combined RN/RAF force which is deployable in some measure on CVFs.

"...Britain pledged in its Strategic Defense & Security Review published last November [2015] to purchase 138 aircraft... viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15969&p=343493&hilit=partnership#p343493


viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15969&p=361532#p361532 go backwards....

Re: UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 00:18
by steve2267
Thanks. Will add it to my reading list.

A little surprised the RAF is going with the Killer Bee. One could make the argument, though, that every air force in Europe operating the F-35 should purchase a sizable fraction of -Bs for dispersed road ops. But that is probably a different thread.

Re: UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 00:47
by spazsinbad
Yes reading that thread will enlighten you. The UK have an RN/RAF Combined F-35B Force to operate from CVFs and ashore of course. What they will do with more 'unknown' F-35s is well... unknown. Recall they have a Fast Jet force already whilst the RN have nowt. Having F-35Bs with RN/RAF pilots on CVFs will be a big change for the RN FAA/RN.

Italy will have a combined force of mainly F-35As with some F-35Bs for CAVOUR but they will NOT be a combined force.

Re: UK awards F-35B initial Release to Service

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 01:31
by jetblast16
Can't wait for the RAF to start really using this jet, and to hear anecdotal stories about the F-35B 8)