Britain to order another 14 F-35 jets

Brenda Goh and Andrea Shalal-Esa, “Britain may order 14 F-35 jets as early as next week: sources,” Reuters, 23 January 2014

The so called ‘Main Gate 4’ order, for the F-35 B vertical take-off variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, would mark the Britain’s first firm F-35 purchase since it committed to buying 48 planes in 2012.

It has so far taken delivery of three training jets.

Britain’s Conservative-led government was embarrassed by its decision two years ago to flip-flop on which variant of the radar-evading aircraft to buy, which cost the British taxpayer at least 74 million pounds ($122.72 million). …

British companies such as BAE Systems and Rolls Royce build 15 percent of each F-35 aircraft. The project is projected to create and support more than 24,000 jobs across the country.

On Thursday, Lockheed’s Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner told reporters the company expected foreign orders to increase further in 2014, with international sales expected to account for just under 20 percent of the company’s overall sales in 2014.

He said the F-35 accounted for 16 percent of Lockheed’s revenues in 2013, and that number would grow again this year. ($1 = 0.6030 British pounds)

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