LONDON, April 18 (UPI) -- The first flights outside the United States of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II will occur in Britain this summer.
The fighter makes its international debut in July at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, the British Ministry of Defense said. It will fly again later in the month at the Farnborough International Air Show.
“The U.S. and the UK have worked closely together on the F-35 project from the beginning,” Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said. “We are the only country that is a Level 1 partner in the project, which is sustaining tens of thousands of jobs in the UK.
“This fifth generation stealth combat aircraft will be a major boost to British combat air power and it is entirely fitting that the F-35’s first stop outside the United States will be in the UK.”
About 15 percent of every F-35 is built in Britain, which currently has three of the planes. The aircraft, however, are currently based in the United States, where Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots are being trained.