The supply of the RAF’s new, US-built F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in July 2021  marked a uncommon second of celebration in what has been a troubled mission.

The ‘fifth era’ fighter plane is the world’s costliest weapons system, although prices have lastly stabilised at an eye-watering $406billion.

Producer Lockheed-Martin agreed to cap prices after US President Donald Trump critised the mission and even tweeted assist for a rival plane. 

Britain is presently launched into a £9.1billion programme to buy 48 of the F-35s, from American aviation large Lockheed Martin, by 2025.

One of the first four F-35B Lightning II aircraft arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk on June 6, 2018

One of many first 4 F-35B Lightning II plane arrives at RAF Marham in Norfolk on June 6, 2018

America enticed its Nato and different allies into sharing the price of the plane by providing enter into manufacture and 15 per cent of every one is comprised of elements from British firms whereas a few of the jets will likely be made in Italy.

However the planes have been stricken by a listing of issues which have despatched prices hovering.

There are fears about shortcomings within the technical methods underpinning the brand new era of warfare planes will go away them unable to perform correctly.

The true value of the British planes delivered this 12 months is estimated to be over £150million every to cowl ‘extras’ corresponding to software program upgrades and spare elements.

There are additionally considerations airplane’s software program system is weak to cyber-attack and can’t be examined independently by the UK.

The weak broadband on the Royal Navy’s principal plane service HMS Queen Elizabeth can also be hampering the jet’s talents.



The issues aren’t helped by the division liable for the pc networks important to the plane’s operation wants to seek out financial savings of £400 million this 12 months.

The stories into the prices and different issues prompted the Defence Choose Committee to launch an inquiry into the mission.

It reprimanded the Ministry of Defence for preserving parliament and the general public in the dead of night concerning the prices.

The MoD has thus far refused to supply the estimated value to the UK of shopping for the F-35, past referring to a Nationwide Audit Workplace which used the £9.1billion determine.

MPs mentioned ‘it’s merely not acceptable for the MoD to refuse to open up to parliament and the general public its estimates for the overall value of the programme’.



Although the price of the F-35 has been the main focus of consideration, there have additionally been embarrassing stories of operational shortcomings rising from the USA.

In a mock air battle in 2015, the leading edge airplane was defeated by an older era F-16, a airplane designed within the Nineteen Seventies.

In 2020 Pentagon checks discovered 276 completely different faults in jet’s fight system.

They included the 25mm cannon vibrating excessively and issues with the he plane’s ‘digital actuality’ helmet

Overheating, untimely put on of elements within the vertical tails and vulnerability to fireside had been additionally discovered to be points.

The US Air Pressure briefly grounded dozens its F-35 stealth fighters whereas it investigated an oxygen provide problem.

The Marine Corps, who additionally function the identical F-35B mannequin the UK has bought, was pressured to floor its planes after flaws had been discovered within the  laptop system.