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More Bad News for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet

More Bad News for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet

Here are More Bad News for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jetUK Govt. under pressure to replace the purchase of F-35 with Eurofighter Typhoon

  • ?Typhoon is half the price of F-35
  • ?UK government also lobbying with Belgium to switch over from F-35 to Eurofighter Typhoon.
  • ?Defence secretary dead keen on Typhoon.

The Theressa May Government of Britain is under pressure to roll back on a multi-billion-pound deal to buy the new generation of US fighter jets.

The British Government is committed to buying 138 F-35 fighter aircraft from US manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has so far bought 48 aircraft at a cost of £9.1 billion but is now reconsidering its pledge to buy a further 90 F-35s.

Instead, it is looking at purchasing Eurofighter jets, made by a European consortium that includes the UK.

The European manufactured jets are currently, on best estimates, about half the price of an F-35.

Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, is publishing a defence review in July, which may cast doubt on the affordability of the further 90 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the most expensive but technically advanced fighter jet in history.

Read more: Problems with F-35 especially with its Software laid Threadbare

More Bad News for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet

The simmering row has been likened to the Westland helicopter furore that blighted Margaret Thatcher’s government, and forced the resignation of the then defence secretary, Michael Heseltine, who insisted the UK should pick the British-made helicopter over a US model.

The purchase of the extra F-35s is expected to be raised by Donald Trump when the US president meets Mrs May during his visit to Britain next month. But Mr Williamson is understood to favour an option that would ensure the viability of a joint European jet fighter business until 2050 at least. The Prime Minister will come under pressure to pick a side.

In the past week, the US ambassador Woody Johnson has briefed on the “amazing” aircraft (F-35) while also pointing out that some components – mainly the tailplane (the aerofoil at the tail of the aircraft – are being manufactured in Britain by BAE Systems, providing thousands of jobs and an estimated £13 billion to the UK economy over the life of the project.

More Bad News for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet

However, well-placed sources have told that the purchase of the extra 90 F-35s is being re-evaluated.

The Conservative MP Mark Francois, a former defence minister, and a member of the defence select committee, said: “We are sceptical about the viability of all 138 aircraft, which is what we are theoretically committed to. Unless Lockheed Martin can bring the cost down, the F-35 will suck up other funds for other programmes in the defence budget.”

The first batch of four F-35s is scheduled to be delivered early by the US and will arrive next month.

The Eurofighter Typhoon, jointly built by the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain, is already in service with the RAF but will require a mid-life upgrade to compete with the pricier but technologically more advanced F-35.

In a possible indication of MoD thinking, it has emerged that the UK Government has been lobbying its Belgian counterparts to buy the Eurofighter in preference to the F-35.

In a joint letter, co-signed by the British, German, Italian and Spanish ambassadors, they urged the Belgian government to commit to the Eurofighter Typhoon.

“Almost every Euro spent on Eurofighter remains in Europe across a broad European supply chain involving more than 400 companies and 100,000 jobs,” wrote the ambassadors including Britain’s Alison Rose.

A MoD spokesman though said it was too soon to speculate on the outcome of the review.

(Source : The Telegraph )

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