Jul 3, 2014
British F-35B Not Yet Ready for Transatlantic Crossing
The other three F-35Bs have arrived at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, the departure point for their historic Atlantic crossing to the United Kingdom. All four F-35Bs are due at RAF Fairford in England the week of July 7 at the latest to allow pilots time for verification flights for their displays at the Royal International Tattoo and Farnborough air show this month.
But the fourth F-35B — and perhaps most notable as it is the single British jet slated for the shows — is still on the ground at Eglin following an F-35A fire last week. U.K. defense officials have not yet replied to queries as to why the jet has not transited to Patuxent River.
Because of a 36-hr. turnaround time on the ground at Patuxent River upon arrival from Eglin, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the F-35B will make an appearance at the naming ceremony for the HMS Queen Elizabeth on July 4 in the U.K. Though the ceremony is not on the official F-35B schedule, program officials had hoped to arrive in time to conduct a flyover, as this class of ship will eventually host the single-engine, stealthy fighters to re-build the U.K.’s carrier strike capability.