Britain Formally Signs F-35 Production Phase MoU
The UK is a Tier 1 partner alongside the USA in the F-35 Lightning II program, with an investment to date of about $2 billion and plans to equip its future carrier force with up to 150 F-35B STOVL (Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing) aircraft. UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson, in a December 12 release:
“After an excellent meeting with Gordon England, I am delighted to be able to sign this MoU which will take the UK into the next phase of the JSF programme. I have always been clear that the UK would only sign if we were satisfied that we would have operational sovereignty over our aircraft. I have today received the necessary assurances from the US on technology transfer to allow me to sign the MoU.
…The MoU sets out the framework for purchasing JSF and supporting and upgrading it through life. It also provides for the pooling of the partner nations’ collective buying power in a common support solution, and of their resources and technology in follow-on development. It does not, however, formally commit the UK to buying any aircraft.” [DID: that would require a specific production contract setting out type, numbers, price, contractors, other services, et. al.].