F-35B in Flight Testing
No F-35B for the UK

The F-35 program is one of the more ambitious programs in the aviation world today. The F-35 is a fighter that will be sold all around the world and will be offered in several different variants for different mission needs.

One of the major partners in the aircraft program is the United Kingdom and it decided to switch from the F-35B STOVL version of the fighter to the F-35C carrier based version of the fighter. UK officials are now offering three reasons for the switch to the F-35C fighter from the B version of the jet. 

UK General Sir Nicholas Houghton has said that the UK determined that the price of the STOVL version of the fighter was too high given the financial status of the UK at this time. He also stated that the greater range and payload of the F-35C fighter would be needed. The third reason for the chance according to Houghton was that the U.S. and French were buying the carrier version and the UK buying the same version would foster better interoperability between the countries services.

UK officials also stated in October that by moving to the F-35C version of the aircraft they would be able to save significant money on the construction of aircraft carriers that are slated to begin soon. The carries would be fitted with catapults and arrestor systems that would be cheaper and allow allied forces to land their fighters on the aircraft.

Houghton also took the chance to comment on the long running fiasco for choosing the replacement aerial tanker for the U.S. Air Force. He stated that the U.S. choosing Airbus over a Boeing aircraft "would be a good thing" and would foster "good faith" between the U.S. and Europe. Houghton also stated that America has to understand that British officials would not "misuse" their military power and will go through a process to ensure that any use of their military was "legal."

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