Mar 26, 2014
U.S. set to approve international debut of F-35 fighter in RIAT Air Show
U.S. Defense Secretary is very close to a decision that would allow two or three F-35s to fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo, or RIAT, an annual military air show outside London, and the Farnborough air show, held every other year.
The international debut of the new U.S. fighter jet will be closely watched by potential buyers, including Canada and Denmark.
F-35 backers say the decision reflects growing confidence in a program that is about 70 percent over budget and years behind schedule.
Britain, which contributed to the development of the new jet and plans to buy 138 F-35s in coming years, asked for the jet's participation to help showcase the increasing maturity of the new radar-evading plane. Britain was also the first international partner on the program.
Details of the F-35's international debut are being worked out, including how much it will cost to fly the planes to London and who will pay for it.
The costs will likely be shared by Britain, the Pentagon's F-35 program office, the U.S. Marine Corps and industry.