Great Britain was dissatisfied with the American F-35 fighters and canceled the contract for their supply.
The British defense department was dissatisfied with the technical combat capabilities of the fifth generation American fighters, and therefore it is breaking the contract for the supply of 90 combat vehicles of this type. Due to the fact that some of the F-35 fighters have already been put into service with the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, it was decided to leave in service only 48 of the 138 fighters provided for under the concluded contract.
According to MPs, Lovegrove said: “We will be buying the F-35s for another 20 years or so, and they have been in the pipes for 15. In the course of projects such as that, things change. In 2015, the SDSR said that we were to buy 138 F-35Bs; there was no mention of the future combat air system—Tempest, as it is more snappily known.
“Things change in the course of these very long-term programmes. Different capabilities come along that render things that you have yet to buy possibly obsolete, or perhaps you need fewer of them, or the threats change.”
So far, the UK has ordered 48 F-35Bs, all of which are set to be delivered by 2025. The final number of F-35s has been cast into doubt by the need to fund the development of the Tempest future combat air system (FCAS).
By 2025, the current fleet would allow for 24 jets to be deployed between each of the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft – however, the UK at current only plans to deploy one aircraft carrier at a time. The UK’s F-35 fleet will be split between two operational squadrons and one training squadron.
Tempest is the joint UK, Italian and Swedish programme to develop a family of aerial systems, including a crewed fighter jet that will replace the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoons from 2035 onwards.
Commenting on the balance between investment in Tempest and the acquisition of F-35s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) research fellow and editor of RUSI Defence Systems Justin Bronk told Air Force Technology: “The Tempest vs F-35 order numbers trade-off is politically complex but in terms of outputs it is straightforward.
“Since Tempest will not produce a viable combat air fleet until the end of the 2030s at the earliest, funding put towards Tempest instead of F-35 orders represents a direct reduction in UK combat air capabilities over the next 20 years in exchange for industrial and economic benefits in the UK military aerospace sector.”
In the same hearing, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Richard Knighton suggested that after the current 48 jets were ordered, the UK would not be ordering more F-35s until after 2025. Knighton also acknowledged that there was a need to acquire more than 48 jets. Reported in Airforce technology
Experts argue that the UK’s attempt to make a key bet on its own new generation fighter is erroneous, since today we are talking only about the first works in the design of a fighter, while the project itself, obviously, may contain a lot of problems, since any modern technology in the UK is lacking.