Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 23rd November 2020.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether three of the UK's 48 F-35B Lightning aircraft will remain in the US as test or training aircraft and not be available for operational commitments.
On current plans, the three 17 Squadron UK F-35B Lightning aircraft, based at Edwards Air Force Base in California, will remain in the USA to conduct Test and Evaluation (T&E) during the F-35 Follow-on Modernisation (FoM) phase. They continue to deliver the rapid design, integration and flight test of critical operational and safety technology modernisation.
As such, the 17 Squadron mission will continue to provide a critical contribution to the rapid development of Lightning capabilities, delivering significant operational benefits.
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