11:42 GMT +323 June 2018
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    UK's First Four F-35 Fighters Land in Norfolk – Royal Air Force

    CC BY 2.0 / Rennett Stowe / F-35
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    The UK’s first four F-35 stealth fighter jets touched down Wednesday at Royal Air Force Marham in Norfolk in the country’s east, the British military said in a statement.

    The F-35B Lightning aircraft were flown across the Atlantic from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in the United States where the Royal Air Force has more of the jets and 150 personnel in training. The overall plan is to procure 138 jets.

    The jets are capable of vertical landings and short take-offs and will be operated jointly by the Air Force and the Navy, forming a part of the carrier strike group. They will make their first landing on the UK Navy’s lead aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, this fall.

    On Tuesday, the US General Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that had urged the US Congress to withhold funding for Department of Defense (DOD) to begin full-rate production of the F-35 fighter jets until technical problems with the program were resolved.

    According to the report, the the aircraft continues to suffer from technical problems with its software, ejection seats, pilot helmets and other key components.

    The program is projected to cost $400 billion for 2,457 jets, making it nearly $200 billion over budget. Estimates of the eventual total cost have run as high as $1.5 trillion, which would make the F-35 the most expensive piece of military hardware in history.

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    Tags:
    delivery, costs, landing, procurement, jets, F-35, Norfolk, United States, United Kingdom
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