UK: initial operational capability for F-35 aircraft achieved
Also plans for the modernization also of Eurofighter Typhoon
Secretary for Defence of the United Kingdom Gavin Williamson, speaking at the Royal Air Force Marham base, announced yesterday that fifth-generation multi-role Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft have reached Initial Operational Capacity (IOC). An important step forward towards their definitive entry into the fleet and to the possibility of using them also in real missions, along the lines of what is already happening in Israel and in the United States with the "A" and "B" versions. The United Kingdom, which will use these two versions with RAF and Royal Navy, has financed so far the purchase of 48 F-35s on a total of 138 ordered airplanes, a number that could also increase in the coming years if the price continued to decline and international tensions increased.
Just like Italy, the United Kingdom will use the F-35s at first alongside the Panavia Tornado (RAF) and the Hawker Harriers (Royal Navy), and then replace them definitively once a large number of aircraft will be in the fleet fifth generation. The momentary exception will be the nuclear bombardment version of the Tornado which will remain operational until the F-35s are certified to transport and disengage hydrogen bombs from US B-61 tactics.
Simultaneously with the reception of the F-35s, the UK Government should also engage in an improved version of the Eurofighter Typhoon so that it can be equipped with all the technological tools necessary to use it in hostile environments protected even with electronic warfare aids, as well as to allow the interoperability and the lack of communication between the Typhoon and the F-35.
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