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UK funds additional F-35 squadron but doubts persist over future fleet total

22nd February 2022 - 14:43 GMT | by Tim Martin in Belfast

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An F-35B aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth during Carrier Strike Group 2021. (Photo: UK MoD/Crown Copyright)

The UK has committed to spend more money on a second tranche of F-35B fighter jets but it has not divulged how many it plans to buy.

The UK MoD has put £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) toward purchasing additional F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter jets as part of its new ten-year Equipment Plan.

Funding for this second tranche of aircraft will be made available from 2027-2028, following delivery in 2025 of all 48 units already on order from Lockheed Martin.

Although the plan does not mention the exact number of aircraft to be newly acquired, rough estimates suggest that 12-16 platforms could be ordered or at least another squadron added.

Shephard understands the UK and US governments are currently in negotiations to determine support

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