Nov 16, 2018
Confirming the development on 15 November, the MoD said: "The 17 new F-35B aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022." This corresponds with the programme's 12th through 14th lots of low-rate initial production.
A total of 16 F-35Bs have so far been delivered to the UK, for use with the Royal Air Force's 617 Sqn at Marham in Norfolk and during test activities being performed in the USA. Two other aircraft have yet to be handed over from previous commitments, meaning total orders for the UK now stand at 35 units.
The nation maintains a total commitment to acquiring 138 F-35s over the life of the programme.
According to a news release from the manufacturer, the aircraft, which was piloted by a joint Airbus and Air Force crew, arrived at Gimhae Air Base in Busan after a ferry flight from the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Getafe, Spain, with a stop in Vancouver, Canada.
It will now undergo ground and flight tests in Gimhae. The Air Force will be supported by a team from Airbus, which will be based in South Korea for the duration of the tests and until the aircraft is officially handed over to the customer.
This aircraft is the first of four ordered by South Korea.
The defense procurement agency's reported plan to sign a military aircraft swap deal with Spain is drawing attention here, as it would mark the first time for a Korean manufacturer to export trainer jets to Europe.
Under the plan, Korea is expected to sell 30 KT-1 basic trainer jets and 20 T-50 advanced trainer jets, manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), to Spain. The European country also reportedly plans to sell four to six A400M Airbus transport planes to Korea as part of the aircraft exchange deal.
The reported contract, if signed, raises hopes for Korea and KAI to tap deeper into Europe and raise its global profile in the defense industry.
But Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) denied the reported plan, saying "no discussion is underway" between Seoul and Madrid over the aircraft swap deal.
"Spanish military and government authorities have yet to contact us via official routes over the deal," an official from DAPA said Sunday. After reports over the possible swap deal surfaced in recent weeks, the defense procurement agency has contacted Spain to confirm whether the country is considering the deal, but the Spanish government denied the rumor, according to the official.
The Bahrain Defence Force recently purchased two Royal Air Force C-130J aircraft from the UK Ministry of Defence and contracted Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group to carry out depth maintenance, ensure entry into service and provide elements of an initial operational capability set up.
After completing a depth maintenance inspection in Cambridge, United Kingdom, which included some minor modifications and a full aircraft repaint, #702 was delivered to the customer. It is anticipated that the aircraft could attend the prestigious Bahrain Air Show on the 14th November 2018.