Ministry of Defence
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Striking a deal: UK purchases supersonic Stealth jets

Striking a deal: UK purchases supersonic Stealth jets

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE News Release (059/2009) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 18 March 2009

On a visit to Washington, Defence Secretary John Hutton has today 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.

Notes to Editors:

1. Since 2001 UK industrial expertise has made a significant contribution to the success of JSF with BAE Systems producing the tail section of the airframes, Rolls-Royce partnering with GE for the F136 engine and producing the lift fan for the STOVL variant, and Martin Baker making the Ejection Seats.

2. UK companies and locations involved include BAE Systems - Salmesbury; Rolls-Royce - Filton, Bristol; Ultra Electronics - High Wycombe; Honeywell Normalair - Yeovil, Goodrich Actuation - Wolverhampton and Liverpool, GE Aerospace - Cheltenham; Martin Baker - High Wycombe and Selex - Farnborough.

3. Compared with the Conventional Take-off and Landing (F-35A) variant already flying, the F-35B has a shaft-driven lift fan mounted behind the cockpit, roll ducts installed in the wing and swivelling nozzle fitted to the engine. In STOVL mode, doors open above and below the lift fan, a clutch engages to drive the two-stage contra-rotating fan from the engine and the rear nozzle pivots downward to deflect engine thrust.

4. For photographs and CGI footage of the Joint Strike Fighter please go to http://www.defencenewsimagery.uk ; 020 7218 6997