Air ShowsAviation & TravelBusinessCommonFeaturedMilitary & DefenseNational News

U.S. Marines Planning U.K. F-35 Debut

U.S. Marines Planning U.K. F-35 Debut

AeroBD | The AERO news Company…LONDON, 10 March, 2016 : Two years after the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter failed to make its planned international debut in the U.K., the U.S. Defense Department has pledged to get the new fighter to a pair of U.K. air shows this summer. Organizers of the Royal International Air Tattoo air show have confirmed that they are making preparations for the fighter’s U.K. debut at RAF Fairford, U.K. on July 8.

The confirmation comes after the Reuters news agency published a statement from Marine Corps Aviation Commander Lt. Gen. Jon Davis saying, “The U.S. Marine Corps is looking forward to demonstrating the capabilities of the F-35B Lightning II in the skies over the United Kingdom this July.”

The U.S. Air Force later confirmed it was planning to send two F-35As to the U.K. as well. While the Air Tattoo is hailing the plan as the F-35’s international debut, it may be trumped by the Netherlands, which plans to deploy one of its two F-35As during the summer for noise trials and to test whether the aircraft can be operated from hardened aircraft shelters.

The assessments will conclude with the appearance of the F-35 at the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s Open Days event at Leeuwarden air base on June 10-11. There is also a possibility of an Italian F-35 appearing at a show in Europe now that F-35s are being produced at the Cameri Final Assembly and Checkout facility in Italy. The deployment is likely to follow what was initially planned for 2014, with the F-35 based at RAF Fairford for the Air Tattoo and remaining there to perform at the Farnborough air show on July 11-15.

It is unclear whether a U.K. F-35 will make the journey. Two of the U.K. aircraft are now ensconced at Edwards AFB, California, performing the test and evaluation of the F-35. The third is based at MCAS Beaufort, North Carolina, for training. A fourth U.K. aircraft that flew in December, BK-4, is due to be used for testing.

The original plan for the debut was thwarted following a fire that broke out in the engine of a U.S. Air Force F-35A preparing for takeoff from Eglin AFB, Florida, on June 23, 2014. A Pentagon directive the following July 3 grounded the fleet. This prevented the fighters from making the trans-Atlantic flight and kept them from appearing at the shows, as well as a flyby for the naming of the first of two new aircraft carriers from which the F-35B will operate.

There were suggestions that the Marines may try again last year. But the scheduling of the F-35B interim operating capability milestone last July forced those plans to be abandoned in May.

“Over the years, the Air Tattoo has featured the U.K. and European debuts of some of the world’s most iconic aircraft,” Air Tattoo CEO Andy Armstrong said. “Few will have been as important to the U.K.’s future defense capability as the F-35. I am sure many people will want to join us to witness this piece of aviation history being made.”

Previous post

U.S. Army Commission Proposes Apache Compromise

Next post

UAE fighter jet crashed in Yemen, 2 pilots killed

The Author

Stevel Adler

Stevel Adler