UK defense chief says F-35 jets are 'ready for operations'
Iran Press TV
Thu Jan 10, 2019 07:04PM
British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has officially announced that the costly US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets are "combat ready" and will soon be deployed on operations.
Williamson made the announcement on Thursday while unveiling nine Royal Air Force's (RFA) F-35 Lightning fighter jets.
He said Britain will begin a "new era" in its military activities by becoming more committed to the "world stage" following its planned withdrawal from the European Union in March.
"We are setting our sights on the next 100 years. Our nation is moving into a new era outside the EU and our huge achievements in air capability make our commitment to a role on the world stage clear to both our allies and our enemies," said Williamson speaking at RAF Marham, in east of England.
Williamson said the unveiling of the F-35 Lightning would lift Britain's military position "to even greater heights" than the past.
However, the comments come as many have criticized Britain's massive contribution to the US-owned F-35 program, dubbed by the experts as the largest and most expensive military project in history.
The British government has contributed tens of billions of pounds to the project. UK companies are producing 15 percent of the components of over 3,000 of the F-35s planned to be produced in the US in the comings years.
The unveiling of the jets on Thursday came after months of infighting in the British army on what type of the American jets Britain should import.
A long-running row between the RAF and the Royal Navy on the issue reportedly ended after top commanders in the two forces were replaced under pressure from the government, which sought to please Washington with the purchase of costlier F-35s.
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