Striking A Deal: UK Purchases Supersonic Stealth Jets

On a visit to Washington, Defence Secretary John Hutton has announced the decision to purchase three Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) test aircraft - the UK's next generation of supersonic stealth fast jets.

This deal marks a significant milestone in the UK's commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter project. Acquisition of JSF will provide the UK with an unrivalled "fifth-generation" tactical air system, designed with stealth characteristics and advanced sensors, and will afford the UK a 'step change' in capability. UK military personnel will work alongside their US counterparts in an initial operational test and evaluation programme for the aircraft.

Defence Secretary John Hutton said: "The Joint Strike Fighter will form an essential part of our Future Combat Air Capability.

"By purchasing three aircraft for testing, we will secure access to the development of the programme. Working alongside their US colleagues, our pilots will gain an unrivalled understanding of this awesome aircraft and its capabilities.

"This is a vital programme for UK Defence both for the military and for industry, with over 100 UK companies involved in the programme."

JSF is the aircraft of choice to fulfil MoD's Joint Combat Aircraft requirement and will fly off the two new Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The purchase of three test aircraft will enable MOD to move forward in developing the Carrier Strike capability.

MoD is a partner in the JSF programme and is investing £2Bn to develop the aircraft. The prime contracts for these aircraft will be placed in the US but the decision to place an order for UK aircraft is equally good news for UK industry. There is significant UK industrial interest in the JSF Programme with over 100 companies involved in the programme, ranging from major UK JSF industrial partners down to lower tier suppliers of composite materials. The potential UK return on investment is substantial.


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