07:14 GMT29 February 2020
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    The United Kingdom has been chosen by the US F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) to become the repair hub for European-based Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole fighters, the UK Defense Ministry said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Work will be carried out at Defense Electronics & Components Agency (DECA) facilities in North Wales and will involve maintenance, repairs and upgrades for aircraft systems including avionics, electrical components, fuel, mechanics, hydraulics and ejection seats, the ministry said in a statement.

    DECA is set to work in partnership with the BAE Systems defense company and the US-based Northrop Grumman Corporation.

    "This establishes Britain as a hub for all European F35s and is hugely positive news for our high-tech and innovative defence industry. It is an endorsement of the skills and capabilities the UK offers; will help create hundreds of high-end jobs, safeguard thousands more and be a substantial boost to UK exports," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon was quoted as saying in the statement.

    Several dozen US-made F-35 aircraft have so far been ordered by European countries, generating controversy in countries such as Denmark over their high cost.

    Since its introduction in 2006, the fifth-generation fighter jet has undergone a number of setbacks throughout its development. It has been beset by technical problems and cost overruns, pushing its expected total project cost to some $1.5 trillion, making it the most costly weapons program in history.


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