In it's latest PR move, LM will "deliver" to the UK its first F-35B aircraft.
Not mentioned by the trade press is the following.
LRIP-3 deliveries--which the jet came from--are behind. The LRIP-3 contract should have been complete at the end of 2011.
The aircraft the U.K. will receive, will go to Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida to join the training program. The training program is still grounded for training real students until DOD and industry can resolve many F-35 safety-of-flight issues identified in a 2011 audit. Training should have been well under way by now.
Instead, what we get are crickets chirping.
Also, years after first flight, the aircraft still has a very limited flight envelop.
The aircraft delivered to the U.K. is under-tested, under-developed and will require numerous structural fixes and changes before it can ever be front-line material. Hardware (known as TR-2) that is needed to drive Block III software won't be fielded for a few years.
Stay tuned. I am sure we will hear more amazing stories from Farnborough this week.