Defence in the media blog: Friday 16 November 2018

Today's defence-related news includes coverage of the Defence Secretary's announcement that the UK is to double its order of F-35 Lightning stealth jets.

F-35 Lightning jets

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced on Thursday that the UK will order 17 more F-35 Lightning stealth jets, doubling the size of its fleet. The programme will bring a boost of £35bn to the British economy.

The new aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022 and will be in addition to the 16 British F-35 Lightnings currently based at RAF Marham and in the US. An additional two jets had already been ordered.

The Sun features comments by the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who said:

I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the biggest defence programme in history. Our military and industry are playing a leading role in the F-35 programme. We are now building this game-changing capability that will soon be ready for frontline action. This programme is set to bring an immense boost of £35bn into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production.

The order forms part of a wider $6bn global contract for 255 aircraft. Despite suggestions otherwise, British companies are building approximately 15% by value of all F-35s, meaning the programme supports around 25,000 British jobs.

Image of the day

An Army soldier patrols a location in Iraq carrying a rifle.
The Grenadier Guards, the most senior infantry regiment in the British Army, are on deployment in Iraq where British troops are helping to observe and mentor the Iraqi security forces.