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UK F-35 confidence as MOD orders aircraft carriers

July 25, 2007 (by Eric L. Palmer) - Today the British Ministry of Defence has given approval for construction of two future aircraft carriers (CVF) worth up to 3.9 million pounds.

During early hover-pit tests, the X-35B's landing gear was replaced with a fixed "dummy" gear, essentially bolting the aircraft to the ground. The fixed gear contained strain gauges that measured forces in all dimensions. [LMTAS photo]

This means the UK's order of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant is certain to happen later in the year.

The carriers are to be called Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales and are due to enter service in 2014 and 2016, the ministry announced.

Each aircraft carrier will displace 65,000 tons and have a carrier air wing that includes up to 36 F-35B STOVL aircraft, as well as four early warning aircraft.